Thursday, 12 January 2012

A safe Europe a priority Denmark has opted out of

The government of Denmark offers four wide headings as its priorities for the first six months of Council life in the European Union 2012:

A responsible Europe (see Grahnblawg in Swedish and Eurooppaoikeus in Finnish)

A dynamic Europe (see Grahnlaw in English and Eurooppaoikeus in Finnish)

A green Europe (see Grahnblawg in Swedish)

A safe Europe

As we see, A safe Europe is one of the four priorities of the Danish presidency of the Council of the European Union, and the one we have not looked at yet. The programme:

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

The programme is available in Danish, French and German as well, through the presidency web pages.

A safe Europe

The presidency programme dedicates the pages 19-22 to the security theme. Many of the concrete issues are within three of the Danish opt-outs, namely defence policy, justice and home affairs and EU citizenship.

With only slight exaggeration we can say that a safe Europe is a Danish priority Denmark has opted out of.

Here are the questions covered by the safety priority:

Both wide and complex are the issues related to area of freedom, security and justice (AFSJ), or often justice and home affairs (JHA) in British parlance, including cross-border crime, external security threats (terrorism), criminal proceedings, support for victims of crime, migration policy (integration), asylum (EASO), external borders (Frontex) and free movement across internal borders.

This section deals with food safety and cross-border health threats as well.

The risk of natural and man-made disasters requires both prevention and civil protection responses.

At the macro level EU enlargement (Copenhagen criteria plus absorption capacity mentioned) and the implementation of the neighbourhood policy of the union both in the east and the south are recalled in this respect.

Denmark wants to strengthen common representation of the EU internationally by the president of the European Council (Herman Van Rompuy) and the high representative (Catherine Ashton).

The programme wants to improve the link between the EU's humanitarian aid and long-term development programmes, striving to move towards a more global sustainable economy.

If there was anything about the need for a European defence, I must have missed it.


After the general part with the priorities, the presidency programme becomes more detailed when it turns to the main tasks of the different Council configurations (from page 23). Recommended reading for those who want to dig deeper in a specific area.

Ralf Grahn

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