Friday, 11 December 2009

After dinner European Council 10 December 2009

More work through the night to agree on the European Union’s climate measures was the message conveyed by the late press conference of Swedish prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt and Commission president José Manuel Barroso after the European Council dinner Thursday evening. The press conference video is available on the web site of the Swedish Council presidency as well.

On the video streaming page, I saw two promising links:

• List of reference documents submitted to the European Council
• Latest press releases

Joy was clearly premature.

The only reference document listed for this European Council meeting, the first under the Lisbon Treaty and the new Rules of Procedure, was the annotated draft agenda dated 9 November 2009.

The latest press release was the one informing us that president Herman Van Rompuy would take part in the dinner (dated 9 December 2009).

In other words, EU citizens are not supposed to know what goes in, or what goes on.

At the end, vague conclusions are offered, but the Council formations, like wholly owned subsidiaries, start taking exact decisions based on the often minute guidelines, directions and priorities received.

The citizens are out of the loop.

The European Council is now a formal institution in a union of 500 million people, but despite the Lisbon Treaty principles of openness, representative democracy and closeness to citizens, its standards of governance fall short of the most obscure municipal board in my country.

Ralf Grahn

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