Friday, 25 December 2009

Sum up of Swedish EU Council presidency 2009

Outcomes of the Swedish EU presidency (16 December 2009) is an excellent summary of the state of major European policy issues near the end of 2009, but the presidency web pages offer more detailed materials on the different EU policy areas (Council configurations) for interested readers.

The concluding European Parliament debate on the Swedish 6 month rotating presidency was positive in tone, as attested by the press release: Curtain falls [of] on Sweden’s eventful presidency (16 December 2009; with links to further information).

Getting the Lisbon Treaty into place, nominating José Manuel Barroso as president of the Commission, the rest of the Commissioners nominated, the new president of the European Council Herman Van Rompuy and the new high representative/vice-president Catherine Ashton, financial supervision, Nordic discipline, transparency and innovative use of social media were recalled among the successes by EUobserver, Valentina Pop: Swedish EU presidency marked by ‘Nordic efficiency’ (23 December 2009).

The failure of the Copenhagen climate change summit COP15 was a setback for humanity and the United Nations, and a deep disappointment for Europe and for the Swedish presidency. The EU’s Environment Council made a first assessment in the presidency conclusions of the environment ministers’ meeting 22 December 2009, stressing the constructive will of the European Union (2988th Council meeting; document 17764/1/09 REV 1).

In the Financial Times, Tony Barber sums up the assessment of EU officials and diplomats: “Sweden ran a professional and level-headed presidency”; in EU cannot afford to rest on its laurels, warns Sweden (23 December 2009).

These evaluations are in line with the Sieps half-term report card and the comments here on Grahnlaw: Swedish EU Council presidency: Effective and professional (15 December 2009).

Traditionally, Sweden is a fairly “euro-skeptic” country with a preference for intergovernmental cooperation, but the Swedish government is pragmatic enough to see the need for “more Europe” instead of reinforcing antiquated national resistance bunkers. And they achieved a lot during their six months of fame.

Ralf Grahn

P.S. Get to know the growing EU blogosphere Margot Wallström wrote about, conveniently aggregated by multilingual, our common “village well” for fact, opinion and gossip on European affairs.