Denmark is taking the helm at a difficult time for the EU. Along with other member countries and the EU institutions, it is looking to guide the bloc out of the economic crisis and put it back on the path to growth.
The Danish government’s 4 big priorities are the economy, growth, the environment and security.
A responsible Europe
At their December summit, European leaders took decisions aimed at strengthening budget discipline and stabilising the economy. The Danish Presidency will need to convert those decisions into action.
It will also oversee implementation of measures designed to improve economic governance and the first half-yearly evaluation of national budgets. To prevent new crises, it will have to speed up the introduction of tighter regulation for the finance industry.
Lastly, significant progress will be needed in talks on the EU budget for 2014-2020 so that they can be closed by the end of 2012.
A dynamic Europe
Boosting growth and jobs is the Danish Presidency’s other big objective. Attention will be focussed on the single market, which will be 20 years old in 2012. More reforms are required if individuals and businesses in Europe are to draw maximum benefit from it. Denmark is committed to working on the 12 key measures spelled out in the Commission’s Single Market Act.
It also wants to open up new markets for European exporters through free-trade agreements with Japan, India, Canada and Tunisia.
A green Europe
The Danish Presidency will put sustainable, environment-friendly growth at the heart of its programme and make sure the EU continues to occupy the position of world leader on issues relating to the environment, energy and climate-change.
Denmark intends to push ahead with new legislation on energy efficiency, the 2050 energy roadmap and the 7th EU environment action programme.
A secure Europe
Following last year’s events in North Africa and large-scale immigration to Europe, the Danish Presidency is keen to improve the way the EU’s external borders are managed. This will mean finalising the common European asylum system and strengthening the border-free Schengen area (the group of countries between which people can travel without being checked at national borders).
As for prospective new members of the EU, Denmark plans to press on with membership negociations with Island and Turkey, to start discussions with Montenegro and to conclude talks with Serbia.