In the first half of 2012, Denmark held the Presidency of the Council of the European Union. It was the seventh time Denmark held the EU Presidency since joining the European Community in 1973.
The Presidency rotates between all EU member states and in the first six months of 2012, Denmark organized and led the work of the Council of Ministers. This was the first Danish presidency since the Lisbon Treaty, that changed the institutional landscape in the EU, has come into force.
Firstly, the Treaty has established new institutional actors, namely the permanent President of the European Council and the High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy. While Van Rompuy leads the work in the European Council and Ashton organizes the work of EU foreign policy in the Foreign Affairs Council, Denmark was in charge of all other policy areas and worked closely with Van Rompuy and Ashton.
Secondly, Denmark was a part of the so-called trio presidency where three presidencies work together to ensure a higher degree of coordination and consistency. Denmark joined a trio with Poland (who had the Presidency before Denmark) and Cyprus (who currently has the Presidency). The three member states agreed on a common trio program for the 18 month period from 1st of July 2011 to 31st of December 2012. The trio program does not replace the national programs. Each Presidency still set its own priorities for the six months it holds the presidency. Hence the trio-program should rather be seen as an overarching common framework for work of the three Presidencies.
Thirdly, the Lisbon Treaty has given the European Parliament a more influential role as co-legislator on almost all new legislation. This means that cooperation with the Parliament and other institutions was an important task during the Danish Presidency in 2012.
Results of the Danish EU presidency
The results of the Danish Presidency of the Council of the European Union in the first half of 2012.
The Danish EU Presidency focused primarily on stimulating growth and creating new jobs for Europeans. Europe’s greatest challenges in 2012 were unemployment and low levels of growth. Denmark worked hard to reach common solutions to the problems at hand, in order to create concrete results for Europe’s citizens and businesses. In this way, Denmark has made a great contribution towards ensuring confi¬dence in the economic policy and placing growth and new jobs on the agenda.
The Presidency worked towards ensuring healthy European economies (“A responsible Europe”) while at the same time placing focus on growth and employment (“A dynamic Europe”). Denmark also promoted green transition and green growth (“A green Europe”) and strengthened the safety of European citizens (“A safe Europe”).
Denmark cooperated closely with the EU institutions during the Presidency. Through the Commu¬nity Method we have created European solutions. Danish ministers have been frequent guests in the European Parlia¬ment in order to participate in a great number of the plenary assembly and committee debates on behalf of the Council. The Presidency cooperated closely with the Commission and the permanent President of the Europe¬an Council. Finally, the Presidency has provided important support to the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy.
The Danish Presidency has delivered about 250 results. From result to result we have shown that the EU can deliver concrete results, when the Member States work together and have the will and deter¬mination to enter into compromises and collaboration. This is a good premise for the EU cooperation to continue on.
A Sustainable Danish Presidency of the Council of the EU
The Danish Presidency of the European Council in 2012 was certified as sustainable SGS under the international ISO20121 standard for sustainable events. By reducing the direct environmental impact of the meeting activities during the EU Presidency, and by using the Presidency to encourage the development of sustainable and innovative thinking, Denmark contributed to a more sustainable development.
Certification of the Danish Presidency of the Council
It was one of the Danish Presidency goals that the Presidency’s results contribute to ensuring a sustainable future for Europe. At the same time, it was also important that the Presidency was implemented in a responsible manner ensuring maximum interaction between economic responsibility, respect for humans and respect for the environment. The Presidency was certified as sustainable in June by the London-based firm SGS under the international ISO20121 standard for sustainable events. This means that Denmark has not only implemented the first sustainable EU Presidency ever, but also the first large-scale international event certified under international standards.
Denmark as a green conference country
The Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs is part of the Danish Sustainable Event Initiative, a consortium with the purpose of consolidating Denmark’s position as a green destination. Apart from the Ministry, the Consortium consists of Wonderful Copenhagen and Visit Denmark as key partners as well as a number of organisations and enterprises. The consortium will produce a common Sustainability Report in which the initiatives taken by different partners are described to give an overall idea of the national sustainability efforts. Based on this report, a number of branding activities will take place abroad.
The Danish presidency in 2002
When Denmark had the EU Presidency in 2002 the most important task was the enlargement negotiations with the ten new member states.
In 2002, the Danish government chose five headlines for the EU Presidency:
- From Copenhagen to Copenhagen: The main priority of the Danish Presidency was to finish the negotiation process with the ten new member states and to make accession agreements with Bulgaria, Romania and Turkey.
- Freedom, security and justice: Common action against cross-border crime
- Sustainable development: A strong and competitive European economy as the foundation for continued growth, prosperity and welfare.
- Safe food: Increasing quality of food and renewing the agricultural and fishery policies.
- Global responsibility: Strengthening the Common Foreign and Security Policy and increasing the cooperation between developed and developing countries.
The most important task for the Danish Presidency in 2002 was the enlargement negotiations with the ten new member states Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Slovenia, Hungary, Malta and Cyprus, which entered into force the 1st of January 2004.