Baltic and European news
Sweden presents its EU presidency programme
Climate change and the economic crisis will be the two main issues for Sweden when it takes over the rotating EU presidency on 1 July, Sweden's EU affairs minister Cecilia Malmstrom told journalists in Brussels on Monday.
Ms Malmstrom and foreign minister Carl Bildt presented their country's plans for the presidency ahead of an official announcement by prime minister Fredrik Reinfeldt to the Swedish parliament on Tuesday. A full work programme will be published on the incoming presidency's site on the same day.
"We are all aware of this being quite a difficult presidency," Ms Malmstrom said. This comes from uncertainty over the EU's institutional framework the Lisbon treaty has yet to be ratified by Ireland plus an outgoing commission, new faces in the European parliament (EE 08/06/09 http://www.endseurope.com/21510), and the economic crisis, she explained.
Regarding ongoing international climate negotiations Ms Malmstrom said Sweden would have liked discussions on financing to have progressed more by now, but it would be "silly" for the EU to step forward unilaterally with proposals. EU leaders agreed last week to delay a decision on financing to their next summit on 29-30 October (EE 19/06/09 http://www.endseurope.com/21612).
"Global green diplomacy" will dominate a series of upcoming summits with, among others, South Africa, Brazil, India, the US, Russia and Ukraine, foreign minister Carl Bildt said. Sweden will push "regional practical cooperation", for example in the fields of energy and transport, he added.
One example of such a regional approach is the European Commission's recently proposed Baltic Sea development strategy (EE 10/06/09 http://www.endseurope.com/21527). Sweden hopes this will be formally endorsed by heads of state and government in October.
Other environmental priorities for Sweden were unveiled by its environment ministry earlier this year (EE 07/04/09 http://www.endseurope.com/21095). Sweden plans to tackle biodiversity, energy and resource efficiency (EE 12/06/09 http://www.endseurope.com/21549), electronic waste laws (EE 03/06/09 http://www.endseurope.com/21475) and to push for a tax on carbon emissions falling outside the EU emissions trading scheme (ETS) (EE 08/05/09 http://www.endseurope.com/21300).
Follow-up: Swedish EU presidency website http://www.se2009.eu/ plus draft presidency agenda. A full work programme will be published on the site on Tuesday.
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