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Swedish Presidency Waiting for the Irish

Published fredag 4 september 2009 kl 14.44
Cecilia Malmström, Minister for EU Affairs

Sweden, as current president of the European Union, is trying to clear up the Union's controversial institutional issues in order to put the limelight on pressing international questions. The main headache is the future of the new Union Treaty. It was rejected by Ireland in a referendum and the Irish are voting once again on 2 October.

The international issues the European Union needs to deal with during the Swedish presidency are exceptionally serious and more complicated than usual.

They range from the global economic and financial crisis to the forthcoming climate mega conference in December.

In spite of the gargantuan task Sweden insists it is determined to co-ordinate the work as efficiently as possible in an effort to maximise the results.

But there is one problem. The Minister for European Union Affairs, Cecilia Malmström says that her hands are tied by the Irish vote and that there isn't much her government can do until the referendum takes place.

Assuming the Irish approve the EU Treaty, the EU summit next month will announce who will occupy the two new posts that will be created: a new Union president and a foreign minister.

But the two new posts have proved controversial including concerns whether the new foreign policy chief will be subject to parliamentary oversight and how much power the new president will have.

There have also been complaints that the implications of the new Treaty have not been thoroughly discussed by the public in the member states and that the whole thing is being simply bulldozed through without satisfactory public debate.

The Swedish presidency is also urging the European Parliament to support the current President of the European Commission, Jose Manuel Barroso's bid to be re-elected for a second term.

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