Posts Tagged ‘Stockholm programme’


We have taken on the challenge


The end of the Swedish Presidency is approaching, and Prime Minister Reinfeldt is attending the European Parliament’s session today to sum up the past months. The outcome of the climate negotiations in Copenhagen is still uncertain, but nevertheless, I feel proud over our achievements these six months.

We must not forget that Sweden has led the European Union under very particular circumstances. When we took over in July, Europe went through the deepest economic crisis in 70 years. It was also clear that we had to act decisively in the climate field. It may be a challenge to adapt to a climate-smart economy and lifestyle, but I dare to say that this is the most important issue of our time.

The preconditions were somewhat shaky: the newly elected Parliament had barely been formed, the fate of the Lisbon Treaty was uncertain and the Commission was about to leave.

Out of our six priorities, we have nevertheless made important and considerable progress in each area, and the Lisbon Treaty, the Stockholm Programme and the Baltic Sea Strategy have been adopted.

The economic crisis
The ambition of the presidency was that Europe must emerge as a stronger actor after the crisis. New, more effective rules governing the financial markets are about to enter into force, but also new rules about bonuses and bank capital coverage. Thereby, Europe will be better prepared for the future.

But we have also set up explicit principles for an exit strategy, to phase out temporary measures and to return to sound public finances. And we have paved the way for a new strategy for growth and jobs, with a view to to strengthening the EU until 2020.

The climate issue
We do not yet know what to expect from the conference in Copenhagen, but we know that the EU has arrived at the negotiations with a strong mandate. The EU is to reduce its emissions of greenhouse gases with 20 percent until 2020, and by 30 percent if other industrialised countries agree to make comparable reductions and the developing countries contribute as much as possible.

The EU has also agreed on the estimate that 100 billion euro per year will be needed until 2020, and 5-7 billion euro per year 2010-2012 in a so called ”fast start” financing. The EU will be contributing with 2,4 out of the 5-7 billions. It is important that the developing countries are given the opportunity for mitigation and adaptation. The EU has also agreed on a long-term goal for emission reductions: 80-95 percent until 2050.

The Lisbon Treaty
The road to the Lisbon Treaty has been long and winding, but I am pleased that it finally could enter into force by the 1 december. It provides us with modern rules for a more open, effective and democratic union. The Treaty also led to the appointment of Herman van Rompuy as the new Permanent President of the European Council, and Catherine Ashton, High Representative for Foreign and Security Policy. Both these new positions are constructed to guarantee better continuity and more coherent EU policies.
Following the entry into force of the Treaty, a new Commission is also expected to be appointed by late January.

The Baltic Sea Strategy
As readers of this blog may be aware, the Baltic Sea Strategy is an issue on which I have been working intensively, and I am glad that we adopted a strategy for the region during the autumn. The idea is that the eight EU Member States in the Baltic Sea region should work more closely together for a cleaner sea and a more economically dynamic region. The Baltic Sea Strategy is a new way of working in the EU, where we try to look at the region from the perspective that many policy areas are connected, and I know that other regions within the EU are following the development with great interest.

The Stockholm Programme
The Stockholm Programme is the new strategic work programme in the area of justice and home affairs. It will direct the EU’s judicial, police and migration cooperation for the coming five years. The ambition is to create a safer and more open Europe that safeguards the rights of the individual, where we strive to guarantee individual integrity and strengthen legal certainty while also stepping up cooperation in the fight against trafficking, smuggling and other forms of organized crime. The Stockholm Programme also carries the ambition to create a common asylum system, and I am pleased that the European Council was able to adopt it last week.

Enlargement/The EU’s global role
We have made progress in the negotiations with both Croatia and Turkey, and applications from Iceland, Albania and Montenegro are now being reviewed by the Commission. We have also decided on visa liberalisation for Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Serbia and Montenegro. It is also positive that the work with the Eastern Partnership is going well.

We have of course dealt with many other important issues, and to discuss each and every of them would make an long blog post even heavier to read. Let me just give a couple of examples: The deal recently closed on a European patent (a negotiation that has been going on for decades) and the Telecom package are both of great value for Europe. Personally, I also want to promote our efforts to connect equality and growth and how the insight about the interaction between the two can strengthen our common work in Europe.


Jobs, crime and climate at European Council


All 27 Heads of State and Government will gather tonight and tomorrow in Brussels for the European Council. Discussions on how to create conditions for new jobs in Europe will on top of the agenda. A new ”EU2020 strategy” is planned to follow on the Lisbon strategy for jobs and growth. Assisted by this strategy, Member States should be encouraged to green their economies, while focusing on sustainable public finances, a better business climate and a knowledge-based economy. The Commission is expected to table a proposal for the new strategy early 2010.

The Stockholm Programme – the new EU plan on Justice and Home Affairs – is to be formally adopted, and the summit will also serve as an opportunity to discuss the current status of the climate negotiations taking place in Copenhagen.

This will be the first EU summit under the Lisbon Treaty, and this involves a few changes. As from now on, the European Council is a formal EU institution of its own, and foreign ministers are no longer present at the summits. This will also be the last summit chaired by the rotating presidency. As from January, the European Council meetings will be chaired by the new permanent President, Herman van Rompuy.


Climate talks


The climate conference in Copenhagen has started Negotiations will be going on this week and next in different formations in order to make progress in the different issues we strive to come to an agreement on, such as emission reductions and financing. Even though the positions of the important actors differ more than one would hope – we have not only different ambitions, but even different ways of calculating our ambitions – it is pleasing that more than one hundred heads of states and governments, including Barack Obama, has declared their intention to participate.

For my own part, I chaired my last General Affairs Council meeting on monday. We had extensive discussions on enlargement, and it is obvious that the EU can continue to help European integration. The discussions were long and difficult, especially on Turkey and on FYROM, but in the end we reached a conclusion in a positive spirit. The long discussions forced us to cancel the discussions I had planed on crises and disaster management. But we have also prepared for the European Council later this week, where the Stockholm Programme will be adopted and important issues such as the EU 2020 strategy for growth and jobs as well as exit strategies and financial regulation will be addressed in the light of the economic crisis.

We also talked about climate, as the European Council will review the EU position in the ongoing negotiations on its meeting. The EU has a strong, common position in the negotiations, were we are pushing for an agreement that would put the two degree target within reach. Hopefully we can also present a figure for the fast-start financing of climate adoptation the coming three years.


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.


The upcoming week of the Swedish Presidency


The meeting of the European Parliament, starting today, dominates our work in the EU this week. Seven Swedish ministers will be in Strasbourg to participate in debates and answer questions on climate, enlargement, the Stockholm Programme, men’s violence against women and much more. For my own part, I will be representing the European Council in the Parliament’s debate.

Today, the ministers for environment also meet in Brussels at an extra Council meeting. The climate conference in Copenhagen is just a few weeks away, and Andreas Carlgren and his colleagues will conduct a final joint review of the positions and strategies.

And at the end of the week, the Education, Youth and Culture Council meet. Among the topics on the agenda are to make a contribution to the EU strategy for growth and jobs and to discuss the European year of Volunteering 2011.


Justice Ministers in discussions on police cooperation


Starting yesterday, Justice and Home Affairs Ministers gather in Stockholm for a three-day meeting hosted by my colleagues Beatrice Ask and Tobias Billström.

The main topic of discussion is the Stockholm programme – a new strategic work programme for issues related to cooperation between law enforcement authorities, civil law cooperation, asylum and migration. The programme, which is a follow-up to the 2004 Hague Programme, will be formally adopted at the December European Council.

Europe must be given better tools to tackle cross-border crime. To do this, we need to strengthen information exchange and increase confidence between our national law enforcement authorities. For the Swedish Presidency, it is also a priority to create a better balance between repressive measures and reforms safeguarding the rights of the individual.

Next to cooperation in fighting cross-border crime, the Stockholm programme will include issues related to asylum and migration. The Swedish Presidency will prioritise the work to establish a common asylum system, ensuring that EU asylum rules are applied in the same way in all Member States. Facing an ageing population that will soon result in a shortage of labour throughout the Union, the Presidency also wants to include measures to open up the Union for labour migration.