On the occasion of the start of the Dutch Presidency of the Council of the European Union during the first half of 2016, President Juncker and the College of Commissioners will pay their first official visit to the Dutch Presidency today and tomorrow, 6 and 7 January. Tonight, the College members will be received by the Mayor of Amsterdam, Mr Eberhard Van der Laan, who will host a working dinner. On Thursday, the College of Commissioners will be welcomed by Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte and Members of his Cabinet at the National Maritime Museum. At 10:30, President Juncker and Prime Minister Rutte will meet bilaterally, followed by a press conference at 11:10, which can be followed on EbS. After the press conference, the College and Dutch Cabinet members will hold so-called “cluster meetings”. During these meetings, they will address and discuss the five priorities outlined in the strategic agenda of the Dutch Presidency: Jobs, growth and competitiveness; the Economic and Monetary Union, financial services, social affairs and regional policy; the Energy Union, climate and transport; the EU as a strong global player; and finally, freedom, justice, security and counter-terrorism. At 12:30, the College will be hosted by His Majesty King Willem-Alexander and Her Majesty Queen Máxima at the Royal Palace Amsterdam for a working lunch. The College will then travel to The Hague, where a dialogue with members of the States General of the Netherlands will conclude the visit. This is the 12th time that the Netherlands are chairing the rotating Presidency of the Council of the EU, last time being in 2004.
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