Thursday 10 December 2009

European Council agenda 10-11 December 2009

The previous blog post European Council 10 to 11 December 2009 looked at how the principles of openness and representative democracy are applied to the summits under the Lisbon Treaty and the new Rules of Procedure.

Ahead of the meeting, the web page European Council of the Swedish presidency published a press release Summit invitations sent out (7 December 2009).

One member per state

Prime minister Fredrik Reinfeldt’s invitation letter informs us that he will still chair the meeting, although the Lisbon Treaty entered into force on 1 December 2009.

“In line with the provisions of the new Treaty on the composition of the European Council, the meeting will take place in the format of Heads of State or Government only”, Reinfeldt told the member state governments.

But all foreign ministers are not necessarily happy to be relegated to “if needed” status, as foreseen by Article 15(2) and (3) TEU.

In Finland (and perhaps other countries) were the division of powers between the head of government and the head of state is unclear, the Lisbon Treaty has highlighted domestic constitutional shortcomings.

Pre-meeting info

The Swedish Presidency’s last summit (9 December 2009) contains the schedule from Thursday afternoon until the concluding press conference on Friday.

Prime minister Fredrik Reinfeldt speaks about Climate change on a webcast (9 December 2009).

The provisional agenda, dated yesterday and published today, is an absolute bare-bones list with six substantive issues in 17 words:

1. Adoption of the provisional agenda

2. Institutional issues
3. Economic, financial and employment situation
4. Stockholm Programme
5. Copenhagen Conference on climate change
6. Enlargement
7. External Relations

8. Any Other Business

Brevity is the soul of wit?

The president of the European Council, Herman Van Rompuy, has informed us that he joins the dinner of the participants Thursday evening, and why he does not preside the body he became president for.

Otherwise I found nothing on the Council’s web pages conducive to the enlightenment of EU citizens with regard to the European Council meeting.

Naturally, earlier versions of some basic documents have been published, but nothing has been done to facilitate the gathering of updated information.

After dealing with openness and representative democracy, we can now add the issue of communication to the list of structural and practical faults under the Lisbon Treaty and the new Rules of Procedure.

This leads to another question: Is there better public information available out there, than what we have seen this far?

Ralf Grahn

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