Belgium takes up EU presidency


Belgium takes up EU presidency

Источник: Voice of Russia

Although Belgium is without a government at the moment, it is taking the EU presidency on July 1st. Belgium plans to cooperate with the EU institutions but it has no plans to dominate the European Union, the country’s Acting Prime Minister Yves Leterme said.

Belgium’s modesty is explained by the fact that after the elections of June 13th Belgium still remains without a government. Belgians never liked to play either a very significant or an excessively independent role in the European history, which serves as a reason for their lowered ambitions concerning Belgium EU Presidency. There’re also other circumstances, which do not encourage little Belgium to draw up big plans — meaning the current crisis and changes in the EU institutions. After the Treaty of Lisbon came into force, there immediately emerged new top-level posts in the European Union, while the role of the President of the EU Council as such has downgraded as a result, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Grushko says.

The Treaty of Lisbon is a complex document, saying that the European Union has acquired more harmony. Some of its national competences have developed into the mixed ones, while a number of its mixed competences developed into supra-national in compliance with the Lisbon Treaty. And as regards the EU foreign partners, with Russia being on that list too, at Russia-EU summits, the European Union is now represented by the EU President Herman Van Rompuy, who is also President of the European Council.

Together with Herman Van Rompuy talks for the European Union are held by the High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs Catherine Ashton and the European Commission Chairman Jose Manuel Barroso. Well, today the factor of EU presidency should be neither over- nor underestimated. Belgium, which succeeded Spain in the rotating EU Presidency, has inherited from it a very difficult task to resolve — to complete the inner reforms, acting in compliance with the rules of the Lisbon Treaty. Expert with the Moscow State Institute of International Relations Nikolai Kaveshnikov says that Belgium will prove a good president.

«The fact that Belgium has taken over the presidency under the conditions of the lack of a legitimate government is, of course, sorrowful. But honestly speaking, there were such cases earlier too. Meaning the Czech Republic and other countries. This is rather a procedural issue, and it is unable to weaken seriously Belgium’s capability to perform the functions of the country holding EU Presidency," said Nikolai Kaveshnikov.

And the pro-rector of the Moscow State Institute of International Relations Olga Butorina believes that Belgium EU Presidency will have a good impact on the European Union:

«And the reason is that the headquarters of all the EU governing bodies, including the European Commission in the first place, are situated on the Belgian territory. Therefore, it will be very easy for the Belgian government to establish contacts with the EU bodies, which are expected to give a further boost to the process of economic consolidation.»

The Belgian Prime Minister has already outlined top priorities for the period of his country’s presidency of the European Union. The working out of a strategy to find a way out of the current crisis and institutional direction are equally important. In compliance with the Treaty of Lisbon, Belgium is ready to limit its own role as EU President in favour of the President of the European Union Herman Van Rompuy and the High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs Catherine Ashton. «So that the new EU officials will be able to perform their new duties», Yves Leterme said.

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