Monday, 16 January 2012

EU Council: Evaluating the Danish presidency programme

For friends of melodrama we suggest Public Service Europe's take on the Council of the European Union, but let us return to bumbling through the primary sources about the Danish presidency. Our roadmap is the programme presented by the government of Denmark:

Europe at work: Programme of the Danish Presidency of the European Union 2012, 1 January to 30 June 2012 (61 pages)

Since our readers come from many countries, there is reason to mention the language options. The presidency web pages offer you the programme in

Danish: Europa i arbejde

French: Europe au travail

German: Europa bei der Arbeit

Council configurations

After the introduction and the four priorities (discussed in earlier blog posts), the presidency programme presents the main issues for the different Council configurations (from page 23): General Affairs (23-25), External Affairs (24-29), Economic and Financial Affairs (30-33), Competitiveness (34-37), Transport, Telecommunications and Energy (38-41), Justice and Home Affairs (42-45), Agriculture and Fisheries (46-49), Employment, Social Policy, Health and Consumer Affairs (50-53), Environment (54-57) and Education, Youth, Culture and Sport (58-61).


Following the introduction and the four priorities, about two thirds of the Danish presidency programme deal with ongoing policy issues sorted under the different Council configurations.

The policy area of each configuration and the current priority issues are clearly described. The main questions are then discussed with some detail added about proposals and the aims for the near future.

The presentations are fairly readable and could be suited for politicians and officials addressing general audiences, as well as for students and other interested readers who want a quick overview of a certain policy area in the European Union.

Mostly the matters are covered in the neutral[ish] fashion of an honest broker, although the attentive reader finds points which reflect viewpoints specific to Denmark (and likeminded countries).

The programmes and proposals are often mentioned exactly enough to enable a reader to do a general web search (Google) to find additional material, but in most cases the presentation is quite general.

It is a light-touch presidency programme, but not really a heavy-duty work programme.

It is often far from clear if the papers referred to are existing or forthcoming proposals, or how far the process of preparation and decision making has advanced.

Would exact references and links to documents have spoiled the programme? It would have become less pleasing to the eye, but more helpful for serious readers.

Ralf Grahn