Wednesday 25 November 2009

Spain: Presidency of the EU Council 2010

“The Presidency of Council configurations, other than of Foreign Affairs, shall be held by Member State representatives in the Council on the basis of equal rotation, …” says Article 16(9) of the Treaty on European Union, as amended by the Lisbon Treaty. The European Council, where the heads of state or government meet, has its own President – Herman Van Rompuy – under the Lisbon Treaty.

In other words, from the beginning of 2010 the formula “Presidency of the European Union” is even less correct than during the Swedish EU Council Presidency.

By the looks of it, Spain is not about to be more modest than the current presidency, or more exact. That is the impression one gets as a reader of the information material published by the Spanish prime minister’s office on the upcoming turn for Spain during the first half of 2010: Rodríguez Zapatero avanza que la Presidencia española de la UE va a ser "transformadora", "exigente y comprometida" (12 February 2009). The same press information (minus a few links) in English here.

Or should we forgive them because nobody was sure that the Lisbon Treaty would enter into force by the end of 2009?

Trio presidency

Actually, Spain is the first country of the presidency trio, to be followed by Belgium and Hungary during an 18 month period.

A draft programme from last summer of the presidency trio Spain-Belgium-Hungary has been posted on the web.

Real Instituto Elcano

Tomorrow and the day after TEPSA and the Spanish think tank Real Instituto Elcano arrange a conference on the Spanish presidency 2010: New Rules for a Closer Union in a Multipolar World, a Renewed Impetus for Sustainable Growth in a Globalised Economy; in Madrid 26 to 27 November 2009.

Growth and employment, enlargement, energy and the Mediterranean are on the programme of the conference.

Real Instituto Elcano has recently published several papers on previous EU Council presidencies and on themes of interest during the Spanish (and trio) presidency: the enlargement challenge of Iceland, the Czech and the Swedish presidencies, a European immigration policy, irregular immigration, Turkey’s accession, EU relations with Switzerland and Swiss participation in foreign policy missions.

Ralf Grahn

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