With just a single month left of the Danish Presidency of the Council, the meeting rooms in Brussels, Luxembourg, Strasbourg, Copenhagen and Horsens hum with intense activity. Danish ministers and civil servants are preoccupied with chairing intense negotiations before the Presidency is handed over to Cyprus on 1 July. Accordingly, June will be one of the busiest months during the Danish Presidency with ten official Council meetings, two informal ministerial meetings and a European Council ahead.
The overriding European agenda is economy, growth and employment - issues which are also at the top of the Danish Presidency's working programme "Europe at work". Solid public finances, reforms and promoting growth are key words for the Presidency and the last summit during the Danish presidency will largely be devoted to growth.
At present, agreements have been reached on several important proposals on growth and job creation. Among others, these include the introduction of a pilot project for European project bonds, which will make it easier for private actors to cooperate with the European Investment Bank, the EU and the Member States in order to invest in infrastructure projects such as transport, energy and information and communication technology. Agreements have also been reached on among other things standardisation and lower roaming prices ensuring European consumers lower rates for mobile telephony and data roaming abroad.
More negotiations await
In the last month of the Presidency a series of final negotiations, aiming to promote growth and strengthening Europe’s competitiveness lie ahead. Among other things, the Presidency aims to reach agreements on initiatives to boost the EU’s Single Market and to establish a European patent court, making it easier for European companies to acquire patents and upholding them throughout the EU.
"We have a busy month ahead of us, and there are many important proposals on the table, where we hope to get good results. It will require hard work and many negotiations with the other Member States and EU institutions. And the last days of the Presidency ends up with a meeting in the European Council, where growth is a key issue on the agenda", says Danish Minister for European Affairs, Nicolai Wammen.
Avoiding future financial crises
Another important part of the cooperation in the EU is to safeguard against future financial crises by introducing better financial regulation and securing more stable economies of the Member States. An agreement between the Council and European Parliament that increases the transparency and safety for derivatives trading was reached in the first half of the Presidency and in mid-May the Presidency gained support by the Council on two other important files, strengthening the regulation of credit rating agencies in the EU as well as a new capital requirement directive, which tightens up the rules for banks’ capital and liquidity.
However, to pass legislation political agreements reached in the Council are to be finalised in negotiations with the European Parliament, why additional meetings each week during June are planned in order to get as far as possible on a range of issues.
The Presidency has also reached a political agreement in the Council on the so-called “Two-pack", which aims to ensure healthier economic policies and enhances surveillance of euro countries in financial difficulties. Furthermore, 25 out of 27 Heads of State and Government signed the so-called Fiscal Compact ensuring a proper balance between revenue and expenditure in national budgets in March.
The green economy
A transition to a green economy is another important agenda for the Presidency. In this area, the Danish Presidency has worked to promote a green transition by making both agriculture and cohesion policies greener - these two policy areas account for 2/3 of the EU budget.
In June the Energy Efficiency Directive will be a main priority and tough negotiations lie ahead. Despite that all agree on the need for increased energy efficiency in Europe, there are many interests at stake. At the informal meeting of the European Council on 23 May the importance of an agreement in June was stressed by among others the President of the European Council, Herman van Rompuy.
The EU’s Ministers for the Environment recently showed the green path, when they signed an agreement to reduce air pollution from ships in late-may. The new requirements ensure that the ships must reduce their emissions of sulphur by 90 pct., thus reducing harmful smoke from ships significantly.
A safe Europe
In the area of justice affairs, results on combating insider dealing and market manipulation in the EU, the exchange of passenger information and the fight against illegal immigration have been achieved among other things. In the last month of the Presidency topics such as better protection of victims in Europe, judicial judgments, border control and the Common European asylum system, are all part of a demanding agenda. The EU’s external relations, enlargement and trade policy have also been important priorities for the Presidency, and in the beginning of March Serbia was granted candidate status.
Follow the final weeks of the Presidency
At eu2012.dk you can follow the last month of the Danish Presidency closely. The news list, photo gallery and video site offer insights into recent events, in addition it is possible to subscribe to the weekly Presidency newsletter, customize a news feed based on personal interests and follow the two official Twitter accounts as well as the website's mobile site.
Once the Presidency has been passed from Denmark to Cyprus, a report about the Presidency’s results will be released online.