The European Movement, the Egmont Institute, the MEDEA Institute and Publicis Consultants salute the work of the French Presidency.

15.12.2008, Brussels

"Hats off to the French Presidency!" said Pat Cox, President of the European Movement International in a heartfelt opening statement during the Brussels launch on Friday 12 December of a debate dedicated to the challenges taken up by the European Union for the last 6 months, and those awaiting in the year to come.

This event was organised on the eve of the Federal Assembly of the European Movement, and where Michel Barnier, the French Minister for Agriculture, drew conclusions on the 6 months of the French Presidency of the Council of the Union. This event took place on the same day as the successful European Council held presided by Nicolas Sarkozy. Milena Vicenova, Permanent Representative of the Czech Republic to the European Union, spoke and described the spirit of Prague’s Presidency for the semester to come. The Belgian Secretary of State Olivier Chastel also announced the main priorities of the Belgian Presidency for the second semester of 2010.

The three speakers confirmed the initial will of their countries to start their presidencies in the spirit of collegiality and continuity. "A Presidency is the link of a chain" explained Michel Barnier, underlining the fact that Paris had undertaken this task with "humility and with the willingness" of President Sarkozy, in order to be "useful and practical". The French Minister for Agriculture and former European Commissioner showed us proof of this with the proposed "climate package", and the way the Union addressed the financial and economic crisis – notably by organising a summit with the heads of State and Government of the Euro zone plus the British Prime Minister, Gordon Brown in Paris – and the reactivity the 27 countries showed in a troubled "international context", particularly during the Georgian crisis. All in all concluded Mr. Barnier, this semester was useful in order "to make European citizens understand that, in a time of crisis, the European Union can answer their needs for protection" better than any of the member States could have done on their own.

The priorities of the Czech Presidency will follow this work spirit. Not only will they have to manage the financial and economic crisis as well as the energy challenge, but Prague will also, according to Mrs. Vicenova, make sure that the European elections and the nomination of the next European Commission will be a success. She also assured those presents that the Lisbon Treaty will be ratified. The strengthening of the Neighbourhood policy with Eastern European countries and trans-Atlantic relations will be priorities over the next few months, as well as the Western Balkans.

Olivier Chastel underlined the will of the Belgian government to prepare its Presidency of the second semester of 2010 by taking into account the expectations of European citizens. "Belgium wants its Presidency to listen to citizens and inform them" in order to regain their support.


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The MEDEA Institute is an European research center whose primary purpose is to build relationships of trust, cooperation and mutual understanding between EU countries and their Mediterranean and Arabic neighbours. For more information, please contact + 32 (0)2 231 13 00 or email them at Zapněte prosím podporu javascriptu pro zobrazení emailové adresy  

Publicis Consultants | Brussels is the European Affairs-specialised agency of the Publicis Consultants network. Publicis Consultants | is specialised in public relations and corporate communication, and is part of the Publicis groupe, 4thlargest communication group in the world.
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