Polish Presidency of the EU Council
Achievements and goals
By Katarzyna Klaus, Polish Press Adviser
Poland took over the EU Council Presidency on 1 July this year. In a very difficult atmosphere marked by discussions on the need to deal more decisively with the economic crisis and the expectations of strong action on behalf of Europe's leaders, the Polish Presidency pushed the European Agenda forward and achieved significant results, not least with the signature of the Croatian Accession Treaty (a major success for the EU's enlargement policy), but also ushering through landmark legislation on economic government, the so-called 'Six-pack' agreement.
The Polish Presidency will have a legacy marked by the following achievements:
Fostering economic growth in the wake of the economic crisis
'Six-pack' agreement: Discussions on the ‘six-pack’ - a packet of five regulations and one directive bolstering economic governance in the EU and Eurozone - have been dragging on since September 2010. The Polish Presidency brought about a landmark agreement on the issue. The new principles will improve budget discipline in Member States and bolster the stability of the EU economy.
Single Market Forum: One of the Presidency's priorities was to deepen the Single Market in order to foster economic growth. To this end, the Presidency organised the Single Market Forum (SIMFO) in October in Cracow, gathering European business community, citizens, NGOs, national parliaments, European institutions and public authorities at various levels. SIMFO resulted in the Cracow Declaration addressed to the EU Council, the European Parliament and the Commission. It identified 20 regulatory barriers that make functioning on the Single Market difficult.
European Patent: The Presidency is optimistic that they will manage to complete a patent system by the end of the year which will be both cheap and easily available to European enterprises.
Keeping the EU’s enlargement door open and fostering democracy
Croatia: Croatia will sign the EU Accession Treaty during the Polish Presidency (9 December in Brussels). Croatia will become the EU's 28th member in July 2013.
Eastern Partnership Summit: On September 29-30, the Second Eastern Partnership Summit took place in Warsaw. In the joint declaration issued at the end of the Summit, the EU and its six Partnership countries agreed that strengthening the Eastern Partnership is a necessity.
European Endowment for Democracy (EED): The Foreign Affairs Council expressed its support for the establishment of the EED, an own-initiative proposal of the Polish Presidency. It will be a non-partisan instrument to make grants available for local democratic movements and to support NGOs and the transition to democracy.
Ukraine: One of the priorities of the Polish Presidency was to complete the EU-Ukraine association agreement. Despite concerns over the rule of law in Ukraine, the European Parliament has given its consent to conclude the association agreement, which is to be initialled soon, hopefully by the end of 2011. The agreement may be signed by the Council during the first half of 2012.
Georgia: The Polish Presidency was working on launching negotiations on a DCFTA agreement with Georgia by the end of the year. For the moment, the MEPs recognised that Georgia is one of the best-performing partners of the Eastern Partnership in adopting reforms and called for the launch of the DCFTA as soon as possible.
Common position on key issues: energy policy and environment
Energy policy: A success of the Polish Presidency has been the adoption in September by the General Affairs Council of the European Union’s first negotiating mandate for the European Commission to hold talks with Turkmenistan and Azerbaijan on trans-Caspian gas pipeline. It represents a big step towards a stronger EU external energy policy - a priority for the Polish Presidency.
Environment: The UN climate talks in Durban will undoubtedly be one of the most important events during the Polish Presidency within the field of the environment. As holder of the revolving EU presidency, Poland is in a key position at this year's talks, with its ministers leading the EU delegation.
Poland will be succeeded by Denmark as EU Presidency-in-office.
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