by CBI

In light of the newly installed Danish Presidency of the Council of the European Union, the Danish Prime Minister, Helle Thorning-Schmidt today welcomed the President of the European Council, Herman van Rompuy, to a meeting in Copenhagen. The purpose of the meeting was to discuss the debt crisis in Europe, including negotiations on the proposed fiscal agreement.

Please find attached a number of useful documents including a summary of the Danish Presidency’s priorities and six-month Work Programme.  Below you will also find an overview of the four pillars for the Danish Presidency.

1.    A Responsible Europe
The economic and financial situation and the European sovereign debt crisis will be high on the agenda during the Danish Presidency. As outlined in today’s meeting with the President of the European Council, the implementation of the agreement of the European Council on 9 December 2011 to strengthen fiscal discipline and ensure economic stability will be a priority in the coming months. The Presidency will focus on implementing the agreements taken at the Summits in October 2011 as well as the recently agreed reform of economic governance where the Presidency will focus on implementing the first full European Semester under the new rules. The negotiations on the Multi-Annual Financial Framework for the period of 2014-2020 will also be a major task for the Danish Presidency.

2.    A Dynamic Europe
The Danish Presidency intends to mark the 20th anniversary of the Single Market by moving forward as far as possible with the twelve key initiatives set out in the Single Market Act. The Danish Presidency also intends to make significant progress towards a digital single market and will strive for concrete results in negotiations. Trans-European infrastructures are seen as fundamental by Denmark for the smooth operation of the Single Market and it has therefore placed significant importance to the negotiations on the Connecting Europe Facility and Horizon 2020. The Presidency will also work towards opening new trade opportunities for European companies, both through the WTO and bilateral trade agreements.

3.    A Green Europe
In the context of the current economic difficulties, new balanced measures related to energy, climate and the environment can contribute to much-needed growth and employment in Europe. The Danish Presidency has said that green growth can be encouraged by integrating efforts across a range of European policies, including agricultural policy, cohesion policy, transportation and the Single Market. The Presidency will work on establishing a long term strategy towards 2050 in the area of energy and climate, building upon the Energy Roadmap and Low Carbon Economy Communications.

4.    A Safe Europe
The Danish Presidency has reiterated the importance of European cooperation in order to deal with the cross-border challenges of a globalised world and to ensure the safety and interests of the European citizens. The Presidency confirmed that the continued implementation of the Stockholm Programme will be a key task in the area of justice and home affairs. The Danish Presidency will continue the efforts to finalise the Common European Asylum System before the end of 2012. The Presidency will also endeavour to strengthen the Schengen System.

On 11 January, the College of Commissioners will travel to Denmark to meet with the Danish Government to discuss the main EU policy issues for the next six months and to attend the official opening ceremony of the Danish Presidency, whose official website can be found by clicking here.

James Allen
Policy Adviser
CBI Brussels