Friday 13 November 2009

President of the European Council & High Representative (Finland “informs”)

The government of Finland has published a press release with generalities about the extraordinary European Council on 19 November 2009 in Brussels. The text has been published in Finnish and Swedish as well as in English:

Government Communications Unit
12.11.2009 15.44

EU leaders convene to decide on the EU top nominations

Sweden, the current holder of the EU Presidency, has invited EU Heads of State or Government to an informal meeting in Brussels on 19 November 2009. Prime Minister Matti Vanhanen will represent Finland at the meeting.

President of the European Council, Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt says that the purpose of the informal meeting is to decide on the nomination of the people who will fill the new top EU posts established by the Treaty of Lisbon. The EU leaders aim to agree on the nomination of a permanent President of the European Council and a High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy.

The President will be appointed in a qualified majority vote of the European Council for two and a half years with the possibility of holding a second term of office.

The High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy will be appointed by the European Council acting by a qualified majority, with the agreement of the President of the European Commission. The High Representative’s term of office begins at the entry into force of the Lisbon Treaty and terminates upon the end of the term of the Commission then in office. During the preparation of the nomination of a High Representative, the European Parliament will be duly consulted. The High Representative will also be Vice-President of the European Commission.

The Lisbon Treaty is to enter into force on 1 December 2009 and the aim is to reach political agreement on the top nominations at the informal meeting. On the basis of the political agreements, the European Council and the Council of the European Union will make formal decisions after the Lisbon Treaty has entered into force. After the entry into force of the new Treaty decisions will be promptly finalised, probably by means of a written procedure, to enable the immediate start of the nominated persons in their new positions. The Swedish Presidency has announced that the High Representative will become a member of the Commission immediately after his/her appointment and the current Commissioner of his/her nationality will step down from the office.

The term of office of the current European Commission will end on 31 October 2009. The Commission can continue in office for a while without a separate decision by the Council. The Council will, in agreement with the President of the Commission, adopt a list of persons it will nominate as commissioners. The European Parliament is to finalise the appointment of the Commission and the High Representative together by a majority of the votes cast. After this, the European Council will appoint the Commission in a qualified majority vote. The Finnish Government has nominated Olli Rehn as the Finnish candidate for the membership of the next European Commission.

Further information: Jukka Salovaara, State Under-Secretary for EU Affairs, Government Secretariat for EU Affairs, tel. +358 9 1602 2182


Apart from a few interesting details about the nomination procedures, as you can see, the Finnish government says nothing about candidates in running or even about its preferences with regard to the president of the European Council and the high representative for foreign affairs and security policy, and it does not even mention the post of the secretary-general of the Council of the European Union.

Ralf Grahn

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