Euroblog round-up #2

Sweden 2009
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Heres another round up of issues making the rounds in the eurobloggerosphere at the moment, with thanks to BloggingPortal.eu

Swedish Presidency

The Swedish Presidency of the European Council is coming an end, and Spain gets ready to share the reins. A number of blogs look back at the 6 months of the Swedish Presidency.

Mats Engström calls the Presidency “Effective” but it wasn’t exciting. (then again name one that was!)

The Swedish Europe Minister (and Commissioner Designate), Cecilia Malmström, updates us on the last few weeks of work that are still ahead.

Grahnlaw thinks it was an effective and professional presidency.

EU Institutions

Grahnlaw highlights the issue of the 18 “ghost MEPs”

Brussels Sunshine highlights the issue of the preception of corruption in the EU.

Climate Change

Lots and lots of climate change blog posts appearing as the Copenhagen conference continues.

Graham Watson MEP (ALDE) is updating us on the goings on in Copenhagen.

Dr. Sean tells us of the (confusing) stance taken by the Czech ODS.

The German Marshall Fund Blog highlights why some countires like Kyoto and are clinging to it.

The Open Europe tells us a bit more about who is gaining from the EU’s ETS scheme.

The German Marshall Fund Blog tells us about the confusion at the talks.

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And their off! The Swedes take over the EU

The Swedish Presidency starts today and on the same day their EU Minister Cecilia Malmström starts a blog. The Swedish are really showing the rest of the member states how to engage degitally, thats for sure. I wonder will Spain, who are due to hold the Presidency of the European Council from January next year.

She says in her blog that she will use the blog

to tell readers about the work of the Swedish presidency and to comment on debates, meetings and other current developments within the European Union

Im looking forward keeping up with her blog.

Sweden will be representing the EU at all international events, including the climate change conference in Copenhagen in the Autumn.

Sweden will focus its programme on the following:

  • Economy and employment
  • Climate
  • The Stockholm Program
  • The Baltic
  • EU and outside world
  • and the New Parliament, Commission and the Treaty of Lisbon

The full programme is here

Julien Frisch is hoping the Swedish Presidency will provide the same hope as Obama

  • A new spirit compared to the previous presidency,
  • a call for more transparency, and
  • a clear stand on climate change.

High hopes, lets hope they live up to it!

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“The EU Presidency Is Too Big for Small Nations”

The above is the title of an article in the German Magazine Der Spiegel by Ulrike Guérot. The opening paragraph states the following:

The Czech Republic proved that small EU states are not up to running the EU Council Presidency. Leadership on such a scale is simply beyond their means. Nevertheless, Sweden hopes to see the Lisbon Treaty ratified. Then it wants to lay the foundations for a real European foreign policy.

I disagree completely that statement and the other assertions made throughout the rest of the article. While the Czech Presidency might not have been the most successful Presidency, it had a number of drawbacks.

  1. The Czechs followed the French and Sarkozy tried to extend the French Presidency by leading trips that coincided with EU trips to the likes of Palestine, thereby undermining the Czech Presidency.
  2. The Government collapsed in the middle of the Presidency. A country can take all the time in the world to prepare for a Presidency but when domestic issues raise their heads and cause the Government to collapse its not easy to keep going, but the Czechs managed it.
  3. A eurosceptic President doesnt help! There is nothing the Czechs could have done about their President Vaclav Klaus, but he certainly didnt help the image of the Czech Presidency.

Previous small countries who have held the EU’s rotating have had very successful presidency and large countries have held unsuccessful presidencys. It is a matter of  outside events that can sometimes make or break a presidency which has nothing to do with how big or small a country is.

Ireland, as one of the smaller member states has always been praised for its Presidencys, including its last one in 2004 which over say the enlargement of the EU from 15 to 25 member states and getting agreement on the Draft Constitution Treaty.

The Czechs were unlucky in terms of outside (and internal) events, hopefully the Swedes will be more lucky!

Do check out the Swedish Presidency Website and the tweeters of the Presidency


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