The priorities of the Polish Presidency of the EU31 May 2011
Jan Tombiński, Permanent Representative of Poland to the EU, said that, at the time of speaking, final decisions have still not been taken about the priorities of the Polish Presidency, but it will be organised around three big themes.
The first theme is bringing the discussions on crisis to an end and focusing on European sources of growth. This would involve exploring the unused potentials of the single market by eliminating existing barriers and making better connections, and using the EU’s budget for building a competitive Europe.
The second theme surrounds issues of security in energy, defence, and food issues. Economic growth is connected to the security of energy supply in a Europe that relies on imports of raw materials for most of its energy. European security also involves strengthening the military capabilities of the EU and making better use of the relationship between NATO and the EU.
European food security is also an issue and this will be a focus of the Presidency, connected with the Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF) and the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP).
The third theme of the Polish Presidency will be an open Europe. An important aspect will be the conclusion of negotiations with Croatia to enable Croatia to become the next member of EU. The Presidency will to focus on the two neighbourhoods in the South and East. The Arab Spring came unexpectedly but the EU needs be actively involved in shaping its relations with this part of the world. The Eastern Partnership, which is the main neighbourhood focus, is not so much a challenge as an outreach of EU values. The Eastern Partnership Summit in September will be a good engagement with partners who are needed for European development, and to help them become more stable and democratic.
The other big agendas are the launching of negotiations on the future MFF. This will be difficult but the EU has to focus on the utility of the EU project. The budget needs to be defended, and spending for the future growth of the EU. It will be a delicate and difficult discussion, about addressing future challenges with the EU budget, and how to adapt EU spending to future projects of the EU.