The Danish Presidency
The Danish Presidency came into effect as of the 1st of January 2012 following on from the Polish Presidency of 2011, and preceding the Cypriot Presidency starting in July 2012. Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt will hope to keep Europe as unified as possible and prevent a two-track Europe from emerging.
Keep Britain On Board
Due to Britain’s veto in December, Denmark has the added role of keeping Britain involved. Denmark has always traditionally aligned itself with Britain’s role in Europe. Both nations are not part of the Euro, but as Niels Thygesen argues ‘unlike the British [they] behave as if [they] were’. Denmark's role will be to bridge the widening gap between Britain and the continent, and keep Britain in step with Europe. Denmark is keen to keep Britain involved as there is concern the ostracizing of Britain could quite easily be applied to Denmark. In December France’s Nicolas Sarkozy made this point very clear, when addressing Denmark, ‘You’re an out, a small out, and you’re new. We don’t want to hear from you’, this sentiment is something Denmark hopes its Presidency will overcome.
Economic and Monetary
Denmark’s Finance Minister Margrethe Vestager announced that Denmark would be placing high priority on surveillance of budgetary policies and euro crisis hit nations. This increased pertinence on surveillance and awareness is key to the Danish presidency which sees the Eurozone crisis as a failing of transparency. Moreover, Vestager announced that Denmark wanted to place emphasis on ‘implementation’, rather than just agreements being made in Brussels. Furthermore, Denmark sees the promotion of the single market into the digital age as key to European revival, with online markets and reduced roaming costs. This includes widening of free trade agreements to countries such as Japan, India, Tunisia and Canada. However, Denmark hopes to aid in the recovery of the economy but not at the expense of the environment.
Environmental issues are far from estranged to Danish politics, it is a nation powered almost solely by renewable energy and will seek to persuade other nations to strive for the same. Denmark believes there need to be more incentives for companies to go green, in order to create a green economy. Thorning-Schmidt argues that the Euro crisis should not be used as an excuse to fall short of promises made by the EU to cut its carbon emissions and other environmental promises, it should press ahead as the world leader in Environment and Energy policy.
Reform of the Common Agricultural (CAP) and Common Fisheries Policies (CFP) is also hoped for by the Danish presidency. Denmark sees the CAP as lacking competition and a sustainable environmental outlook, it hopes the reforms can streamline and create renewed innovation in the industry. Like the CAP, Denmark hopes to find a new sustainable CFP, taking account of several bilateral agreements.
Denmark hopes to speed up and make progress with the Common European Asylum System aiming for a 2012 completion date. However, Denmark is calling for stronger and better co-operation between Schengen countries and has questioned the accession of Bulgaria and Romania to the Schengen zone, arguing that transnational crime and corruption needs to be resolved first. As for new members, Denmark is aiming to continue negotiations with potential new states, Montenegro, Serbia, Turkey and Iceland.
European Parliament, ‘Danish Presidency Priorities as Presented in EP Committees’, http://www.europarl.europa.eu/news/en/pressroom/content/20120123IPR35956/html/Danish-Presidency-priorities-as-presented-in-EP-committees, (Last Accessed: 01/25/2012)
European American Chamber of Commerce, ‘Task for Danish Presidency: To Prepare Europe for Tomorrow’, http://www.eaccny.com/news/task-for-danish-presidency-to-prepare-europe-for-tomorrow/, (Last Accessed: 01/25/2012)
The Guardian, ‘Denmark as EU President will Seek to Keep UK Along’, http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/feedarticle/10017856?fb=native, (Last Accessed: 01/25/2012)
The New York Times, ‘Dane Seeks a Spot at Europe’s Top Table’, http://www.nytimes.com/2012/01/12/world/europe/dane-seeks-a-spot-at-eus-top-table.html?pagewanted=all, (Last Accessed: 01/25/2012)
National Review Online, ‘Shut Up, Sarkozy Explained’, http://www.nationalreview.com/corner/286090/shut-sarkozy-explained-andrew-stuttaford, (Last Accessed: 01/25/2012)
IEWY News, ‘Presentation of the Presidency Priorities in the Committees of the European Parliament’, http://www.iewy.com/40439-presentation-of-the-presidency-priorities-in-the-committees-of-the-european-parliament.html, (Last Accessed: 01/25/2012)
Famagusta Gazette, ‘Cyprus Commended for Efforts to Reduce Deficit’, http://famagusta-gazette.com/cyprus-commended-for-efforts-to-reduce-deficit-p14307-69.htm, (Last Accessed: 01/25/2012)