The priorities of the Belgian Presidency of the EU

11 June 2010

Jean de Ruyt, Belgian Permanent Representative to the EU, said as the Lisbon Treaty has not yet been fully enforced, the Belgian Presidency would continue to play a role in foreign and economic policy. He hoped by the end of its Presidency the new institutional order would be in place with a functioning EEAS and a European Council President with clear responsibilities.

An important innovation is the increased powers of the European Parliament in co-decision making with the Council, so the President of the European Council has to negotiate with the Parliament to reach a common decision in the first reading of legislative proposals.  

A priority for the Belgian Presidency will be to manage the EU’s reaction to the continuing financial crisis. It will help organise fiscal consolidation to ensure that each country reduces its budget deficit and returns to growth, and work to create coherence in the EI’s growth strategy: Europe 2020.

A second major task is to work with EU governments to reduce their deficits so they are no longer at the mercy of the markets. One of the lessons from the financial crisis is the need to regulate the financial markets, such as introducing supervision of the banking system.

There will be work to harmonise legislation to enforce mutual recognition in the fields of asylum and immigration, and in the environmental field to maintain the momentum on the forthcoming United Nations Climate Change Conference in Cancún.

There is still work to do in completing the Internal Market, and the Belgian Presidency will be pushing for the European patent to be passed, an essential element in it.

On enlargement, he hoped the promised candidates would enter the Union as the promise of EU membership helps to stabilise the Balkans, and negotiations with Croatia are nearly complete.

As Europe need a strong foreign policy the Presidency will support the formation of the EEAS, as this will show the world the EU means business.