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Wednesday, July 03, 2002


The sixth months of the Danish presidency were to have been a time of imaginative and far reaching changes, but if the recent reaction to one of the proposals for strengthening the EU's international role are anything to go by, then it's going to be all uphill work:

Proposals by Tony Blair and Jacques Chirac for a powerful new European Union council president have been dealt a blow by Denmark, which on Monday took over the rotating EU presidency.The British prime minister and French president are leading calls to create the new high-profile post to give the EU more political direction and to represent Europe on the world stage. But Denmark has added its voice to claims that the new position would be a means of strengthening the power of the bigger countries in the EU to the detriment of the smaller ones.
Anders Fogh Rasmussen, the Danish prime minister, said it was inevitable that the new council president would come from one of the larger EU members. "I'm not in favour of a president of the council, serving a term of five years, because such a proposal tends to favour big countries," he told the Financial Times."Equal treatment for big and small countries is essential for us."His views are significant, because Denmark has been charged with developing plans to reform the EU council before December's Copenhagen summit.

The final shape of the EU is being considered by Valery Giscard d'Estaing's convention on the future of Europe. The former French president, who meets Mr Fogh Rasmussen on Tuesday in Copenhagen, is understood to be an enthusiast for the idea of an EU council president.
Source: Financial Times

So it seems likely that the process of achieving a consensus for change is going to be a long one, with plenty of obstacles along the way, and, from the coments above this is a process which is unlikely to bear fruit during the Danish presidency. Which brings us back to the problem of the timing of the expansion agenda. Anyone willing to place any bets?

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