Posts Tagged ‘European Commission’


New Commission presented


Earlier today, Commission President José Manuel Barroso presented the distribution of responsibilities in the new Commission. You will find the list here For my part, Mr. Barroso has proposed the Home Affairs portfolio, which is to include police cooperation, border control, security issues and asylum and migration.

I am proud to be entrusted with some of the toughest challenges facing the European Union. For me as a liberal, it will be an honour to lead the Union’s fight against cross-border crime and human trafficking, and to put in place a common asylum policy while also creating ways for legal migration to Europe. The EU should also be given a clearer role when Member States are struck by disasters. With the Lisbon Treaty in force, all these areas will have greater importance in the work of the Union.

The Stockholm Programme is a top priority for the Swedish Presidency and deals with issues that really affect citizens. As Commissioner, my task will be to put this into practice. I look forward to cooperating closely with Commissioner Viviane Reding, who is proposed as Commissioner for Fundamental Rights, in order to secure an effective fight against crime and an asylum and migration policy with individual rights at its core.


Swedish Commissioner


Today, the Swedish government has decided to nominate me to the next European Commission. Europe has to deal with a range of decisive issues. For example we have to handle climate change, increased cross-border crime, and make further enlargement possible. I am proud and honoured for the opportunity to contribute to this important task as Commissioner. Being a liberal, I feel strongly about European integration. The European Union is the most important tool we have to tackle our common challenges.


Will it be possible to reach a deal on the climate in December?


With the conference in Copenhagen just a month away, a good deal of the efforts of the Swedish Presidency lie on preparing the climate issue. Last week, Prime Minister Reinfeldt represented the Swedish Presidency at the EU-USA and EU-India summit. That the US must be ready to take its responsibility if we are to reach a deal on the climate is a plain fact, but it is also important that the fight against global warming includes developing countries. It is therefore pleasing that the EU-India summit resulted in an agreement on support of the two degree target, even though this is a domestically sensitive issue in India.

Climate negotiations have also been going on in Barcelona, in a last negotiation meeting in front of Copenhagen. Progress was made on technical issues and there were good discussions, leading to a greater level of understanding. But the politically sensitive issues were not solved. If we are to reach a deal in Copenhagen, a greater will to negotiate is needed. The two core issues are the level of the emission reductions and the financing of the necessery measures, and we need to move forward in these areas. The EU has committed itself to reduce its emissions with 30 % if other countries make comparable commitments. Now, the US and other industrialized countries must step up their ambitions to reduce emissions, and the more advanced developing countries must make adequate commitments according to their respectively capabilities and responsibilities.

Regarding financing, the EU has expressed its support for the European Commissions estimate that costs in developing countries could amount to 100 billion euro annually by 2020. This issue was also raised at the meeting of the G20 finance ministers, but regrettably, they were unable to make the needed progress. It is now up to the US and other industrialized countries to also present a credible financing of the needs of the developing countries.

The Swedish Presidency continues with its work, and I am glad that the EU acts as the well-needed leader. The basic success story of the EU is that cooperation works. This is a lesson that now must be learnt by the rest of the world, too.


Who is to pay?


The European Commission yesterday presented its proposal on how to model the international financing of climate change action. The Commission counts on that developing countries will be in need of 100 billion euro per year. That is approximately the size of the EU budget. The money for action in developing countries would be financed partly by the developing countries themselves, by incomes from emissions trading and by public funds in industrialized countries. There are primary two different guiding criteria for the burden-sharing.

• The emission of greenhouse gases
• The economic prosperity

The EU produces roughly one third of the global economy, but only 11 percent of global emissions. While for example the share of the global emissions for the big growing economies like China, India and Brazil is twice as big as their shares of the global economy. Here we need to find a compromise that is acceptable for everyone.

It’s good that the Commission has presented this concrete proposal, which will serve as a good starting-point for further discussions. Up to now, it is obvious that the EU sticks together and really takes the leadership in the climate issue. That’s good, but that cannot be said about the other countries. A lot of work remains to be done until the UN conference in Copenhagen in december. In the immediate future, the EU Heads of State and Government will be gathering on 17 september to co-ordinate for the G20 summit in Pittsburg on 24-25 September. Let’s hope for some fruitful climate discussion there!


Complicated institutional puzzle


The Swedish governmentHolidays are coming to an end and the European institutions are back at work. As committees convene in the European Parliament this week, just about all Swedish ministers will be in Brussels to present the presidency priorities within their respective fields of work. This is normal procedure in the beginning and the end of each presidency.

I’ll be visiting the Constitutional Affairs committee, on which I sat for five years as MEP. I am looking forward to discussions with new members and former colleagues on issues such as the Lisbon Treaty, the Irish referendum and the nomination of the new Commission.

It is a complicated institutional puzzle that is to be put together during the next few weeks. First of all, we have to wait for the results of the referendum in Ireland on 2 October. In case of a positive vote in Ireland, there is however still uncertainty as whether the President of the Czech Republic will sign the parliament’s ratification of the Treaty.

If and when the Treaty will finally be ratified in all Member States, we will start preparing for a new Commission, the appointment of the new High Representative – who will also be heading the new EU foreign service – and also appoint a permanent President of the European Council. The best case scenario is that all these posts will be filled when EU Heads of State and Government meet in Brussels in late October.

If the Irish people, however, choose to reject the Lisbon Treaty, we will have to start immediate preparations for a Commission according to the current Nice Treaty. This means a Commission that consists of fewer members than the number of Member States.

EPNo matter which Treaty will be in force later this year, there is a number of issues where the European Parliament will involved, and each candidate for the Commission will be subject to parliamentary hearings. I am quite sure there will be a lot of questions and comments about this tomorrow!

In order to move on with the Commission, we need the European Parliament to approve José Manuel Barroso as the new president. This is already on the draft agenda for Parliament’s September session, but the final decision is yet to be made.


EU solidarity needed in crisis and disasters


Heavy forest fires have hit parts of Greece during the past few days, resulting in tragedies with thousands of people homeless as the fires are coming closer to Athens. Greece is now assisted by French, Italian and Cypriot aircraft in fighting the fires.

Though each country is primarily responsible for managing crises on its territory, it’s important that EU Member States show solidarity and help each other when natural or man-made disasters occur –like in the case of Greece.

This is also a field where the EU needs to become a stronger actor. Protecting its citizens by preventing and coordinating crisis management int the event of disasters and serious threats is, and must be, a core task of the European Union.

But if Europe is to become an actor to count on in this field, the Union’s crisis management structures need to become more effective and predictable.

Shared assessments and situation reports, a developed Monitoring and Information Centre (the unit dealing with requests for assistance) in the Commission, better coordination between with the Member States and closer consular cooperation are some of the issues that we need to consider further. The Lisbon Treaty’s solidarity clause, obliging Member States to assist each other in crisis and disasters, will no doubt make this work much easier.


It’s time!


untitledIt’s 1 July, the first day of the Swedish presidency of the European Union. I’m looking forward to some challenging and exciting six months, that will require a lot of hard work and creative leadership.

It’s no secret that Sweden will be leading Europe in a difficult time. The European Union is facing a number of challenges, and the presidency will work under very specific conditions. But we are not afraid of taking up the challenge. The presidency’s ambition is to achieve results on a range of issues where citizens expect the Union to deliver. While working to create better conditions for growth and jobs, we will also need to unite the world in the struggle against climate change.

The Swedish presidency will be officially opened at the open-air museum Skansen in Stockholm tonight, with world class artists performing music, dance and acrobatics. The ceremony will be held in presence of The King and The Queen, the Swedish government and the European Commission. Czech EU Minister Stefan Füle will be to hand over a glass baton to me, marking the transfer of the presidency between our two countries. Everyone is welcome to the opening ceremony at Skansen at 6.30pm!

As from today, I will use this blog to tell readers about the work of the Swedish presidency and to comment on debates, meetings and other current developments within the European Union. I hope you will join me during the next six months!