Saturday, 23 January 2010

Near Nada: EU General Affairs Council 25 January 2010

The quantity and quality of information ahead of the General Affairs Council meeting Monday 25 January 2010 is derisory.

The agenda tells us that the ministers will be occupied between 10:00 and 15:00 hearing and discussing one agenda item, the Spanish presidency programme.

Although I am convinced that the governments of the EU member states have studied the programme carefully, nobody was gracious enough to add a link to the document in this public information, so I will do it:

The Programme for the Spanish Presidency of the Council of the European Union 1 January – 30 June 2010

In a few paragraphs, the one page background note runs through some of the headline level activities during the first six months of this year, without adding anything of interest or value for those who follow EU affairs.

No additional items, supporting documents, links – nada.

Still, let us savour the last paragraph before the obligatory press conference:

For the Union to enhance its global role and influence it needs to foster close links with its citizens and build their support and involvement. To this end, the Spanish Presidency aims to strengthen the rights, civil liberties and security of Europe's citizens and promote real equality between men and women.

I fully support the noble aim of fostering close links with the citizens of the EU and building our support and involvement.

How about decent advance information – for a start?

Ralf Grahn

P.S. The UK is a heavyweight among EU member states, and Charlemagne’s notebook (The Economist) offers a gateway to some shades of important British thought about European integration.

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