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Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Future of the EU, December, 2008

Today:
  1. EU trio’ concept gains weight amid Czech Presidency doubts
  2. Czechs dilute EU presidency message, logo
  3. Czechs to push for Nabucco gas pipeline at EU helm
Today, probably the last post for this year, we'll talk about the future of the EU and the new Czech presidency. I hope you enjoy the post. I know I did :) Did you know that Topolanek said that Obama's ancestors ate Polish missioners? That's so fun!

EU trio’ concept gains weight amid Czech Presidency doubts

20 November 2008

As apprehension mounts in Brussels over the incoming Czech Presidency, officials are playing down anxieties on the basis that the EU's work schedule increasingly relies upon agendas drawn up by 'trios of presidencies' including older, more experienced member states.

Presidency programmes are now seen as a collective effort by 'trio presidencies', in which at least one country is one of the 'older' group of 15 EU member states.

The current trio is composed of France (the current EU president holder), the Czech Republic (which will assume the Union's helm in January 2009) and Sweden (presidency holders in the second half of 2009). The three presented their joint 18-month programmePdf external in June 2008.

The next 'trio', due to start work in January 2010, will include Spain, Belgium and Hungary.

Individual countries will still be able to include specific priorities in their programme, but according to one insider, the Council wants to avoid a situation whereby "a country from the North pushes for priorities specific to its region, followed by a Southern country with a very different agenda". In addition, the trio programme allows for a longer-term vision, he added. source

My comment: I like the idea of a troika ( it's funny how the very fact they call it "troika" and not trio, reminds us that 1/3 of the population of Europe are dominantly slavs), because one country can hardly know or care about the interests of all countries. The Union is covering the whole continent and every country is on its own level of development. It's hard for Bulgaria for example to consider the needs of France, we're too different. Having 3 countries instead of one guarantees continuity and balance. Nice!

Czechs dilute EU presidency message, logo

17 November 2008

The logo of the Czech EU Presidency and its accompanying motto 'Europe without barriers' were officially unveiled this week in what appears to be something of a retreat from a previous message, 'We'll make it sweet for Europe'.

The visual identity of the upcoming presidencyexternal was unveiled to the media and the public by Czech Prime Minister Mirek Topolánek and his deputy Alexandr Vondra at a press conference at the Veletržní Palace in Prague on Wednesday (12 November).

As well as the logo, the ministers revealed a number of other designs to be used on government cars and at all official venues for the duration of the presidency, including a map of Europe, with each member state represented by their abbreviations (UK, DE and so on) displayed in national colours.

Prime Minister Topolánek used the occasion of the logo's presentation to outline the priorities of his country's EU presidency, namely the economy, energy and external relations, and insisted that his government would adopt a "flexible approach" to addressing issues of common concern.

Topolánek announced the Czech Republic's intention to focus on the economy and particularly the European response to the financial crisis. Regarding energy, security issues and the further development of the climate and energy package feature high on his 'to do' list.

As for external relations, the Czech EU Presidency intends to focus on deepening the bloc’s transatlantic ties. source
My comment: The last paragraph is such a surprise. Like we didn't know how much Czech and Poland adore USA. I wonder when they will get the moral of Georgia and Palestine and understand that the only people who might care about them or help them are those around them, their fellows from the EU. Because USA is way too far and way to complicated to mess with Russia. Anyway, that's their problem so far. But I like how they changed the logo. The previous version was ridiculous, childish and stupid. I think they finally started to take seriously the Presidency and that's good. God helps us the next 6 months, they are going to be tough!

Czechs to push for Nabucco gas pipeline at EU helm

16 December 2008

The Czech EU Presidency will push for the planned Nabucco gas pipeline, which aims to reduce the Union's dependence on Russian gas, to become an EU project, the country's Prime Minister Mirek Topolanek recently announced.

The Czech Republic is among the biggest supporters of the EU's flagship gas project and has put energy security among its highest priorities.

"This is an absolute priority. Our partners see it in the same way" said Topolánek, quoted by the Prague Monitor.

Topolanek alluded to this summer's unexpected cut in oil supplies from Russia to the Czech Republic (EurActiv 31/07/08). At the time, Moscow insisted that the reductions in Russian oil deliveries to the Czech Republic were a result of technical problems, but there was widespread speculation that the cuts may have been politically motivated and linked to Prague's recent decision to host a radar that is part of the US missile shield defence system.

The Czech Republic, unlike some of its neighbours in central and eastern Europe, can cope without Russian crude oil thanks to the IKL pipeline, which was built in the 1990s and connects the country with the Western European pipeline system in Germany. source

My comment: Another surprise :) Well, you know how I feel about Nabucco. I understand why they want it so bad, but I think that the cost at which it will come isn't right. If you read the article you'll see how Turkey blackmails the EU. And honestly, I don't see a difference between being dependent on the USA (or their allies) or on Russia. It's good to have variety in the energy sources, because it allows certain level of manoeuvrability, but we have to be realistic, it's not a panacea and it won't solve all our problems. Also, we have to think about Iran and that's a tough one. That's why, I don't believe in Nabucco, even if it would be good to have it.And I kind of think that it would be used to pour European money into non-european companies, something that I certainly don't approve.

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