Denmark will assume the Presidency at a time when the EU is facing its perhaps greatest challenge ever. The task for the Danish Presidency will be to bring together and strengthen the EU through concrete results that will bring the EU forward and prove the value and necessity of European cooperation to citizens of Europe. We must work our way out of the crisis, and we must do it together.
At the Summit on 8–9 December, a number of very important decisions were taken to stabilise the euro, including the agreement on a “fiscal compact”. The further work on following up on the agreement will take place at intergovernmental level, and the EU Presidency will therefore not be in charge of this responsibility. However, as the Member State holding the Presidency, we are prepared to provide assistance if called upon. In all circumstances, the enhanced discipline which the “fiscal compact” aims at is well in line with the priority of the Danish Presidency regarding “A responsible Europe”.
By working for a responsible, dynamic, green and safer Europe, the Presidency will prepare Europe for the future economically, socially and environmentally.
The Danish Presidency, therefore, has four priorities:
• A more responsible Europe
• A more dynamic Europe
• A greener Europe
• A safer Europe
•The Danish Presidency will work towards ensuring a responsible European economy. We must bring Europe out of the crisis, prevent new crises and focus on strengthening growth and job creation in the time ahead. All EU Member States must implement the necessary measures to consolidate public finances and carry out the necessary reforms. This is a precondition for restoring market confidence in the European economies, for getting out of the crisis, and for embarking on the path to growth. In Europe, we have not been sufficiently good at complying with and enforcing the common ground rules and agreements regarding reforms. Therefore, at the European Council on 9 December, a number of important decisions were taken to enhance fiscal discipline with a view to ensuring economic stability. These decisions will need to be implemented during the Danish Presidency. The objective of enhancing fiscal discipline is well in line with the Danish Presidency’s priority of a responsible Europe. We have also adopted reinforced of economic governance, which will strengthen the common ground rules (known as the “six pack”). The Danish Presidency will now focus on implementing the new and stronger ground rules for the benefit of public finances, growth and job creation in Europe. We will also enhance supervision and regulation of the financial sector for the purpose of preventing financial crises in the future.
•Through our Presidency, we must also contribute to ensuring an up-to-date and responsible Multiannual Financial Framework for the period 2014-2020. As the Member State holding the Presidency, Denmark will strive to bring the negotiations as far forward as possible so as to pave the way for President of the European Council Van Rompuy to conclude an agreement from the second half of 2012.
•In order to get out of the crisis, it is also crucial to create revitalised growth and employment in Europe. The Single Market is one of the greatest EU successes. We will create a more dynamic European economy by further developing the unexploited potential of the Single Market through efforts regarding the 12 key priorities of the Single Market Act. The Single Market is, among other things, to be brought into the digital age by making it easier and safer to trade on-line and by lowering roaming prices across borders. We must also promote innovative companies and ensure greener and more sustainable growth. Strengthening of research and innovation efforts must also contribute to this. As part of the further development of the Single Market, we must at the same time secure respect for employees’ rights by ensuring that rules regarding pay and working conditions are complied with. Lastly, we will work towards opening new trade opportunities for European companies, both through the WTO and through bilateral trade agreements with, among others, Japan, India, Canada and Tunisia.
•The Presidency will, furthermore, set a proactive agenda for promoting green and sustainable growth. The aim and objective is to create growth without increased resource and energy consumption. And it can be done. In recent years, the EU has developed an ambitious energy and climate policy which means that the EU is taking the lead at global level. We must make an effort to maintain this position through new initiatives. A key objective will be to adopt measures improving resource and energy efficiency in Europe. We will work for a focused 7th Environmental Action Programme and an ambitious European energy policy up to 2050 with improved energy efficiency and increased use of renewable energy. And there is a need for a strong European voice at the Rio+20 UN conference in the work on adopting a roadmap for a sustainable restructuring of the world economy. Furthermore, we will work towards integrating energy, climate and environmental considerations in more EU policies, for example the Common Agricultural Policy, the Common Fisheries Policy, the Common Transport Policy, and the Single Market. The structuring of the EU budget from 2014-2020 is to support this consideration.
•Lastly, we must make Europe safer. In a globalised world, we must cooperate in Europe if we are to ensure the security of European citizens and solve cross-border problems. Denmark will work to ensure a more effective fight against international crime and terrorism as well as a well-functioning Common European Asylum System and stronger Schengen cooperation, thereby achieving more secure control at the EU’s external borders. Because of our justice and home affairs opt-out, we will not be able to benefit fully from the advantages of this cooperation. The Danish Presidency will also strongly support a strengthening of the EU external and development policies. Due to global shifts of power, a strong global voice has become even more necessary for Europe.