Climate Tops Agenda for Upcoming Swedish European Council Presidency

By Barbara Gay, Epoch Times
May 19, 2009 Updated: May 19, 2009

STOCKHOLM—The Swedish government, which takes over the presidency of the European Council on July 1, believes the economic crisis might deepen sometime this fall. It indicates that a broad strategy for handling the crisis is required.

On Sunday, leaders of the four parties that make up the Swedish government published an article in Dagens Nyheter, one of Sweden's leading newspapers, addressing issues which they feel are important during Sweden's presidency of the European council.

Since no country has escaped the economic downturn, the financial and economic crisis has a prominent place on the agenda. No national solutions will combat a crisis this big, however.

As the Swedish government believes the crisis may deepen further, they see a need for a broad strategy for handling the crisis on many levels.

The current Swedish government has strived to keep public finances in check, despite the crisis, something they hope will be a guiding principle for the other member states as well. It sees a need for further regulating the financial markets as well as battling the deficit in the national finances of many member states.

Unemployment is a direct consequence of the crisis. This is not directly a question for the European Union. The Swedish government will nonetheless try to unite the member states in an effort to find common solutions to avoid the current situation becoming a lasting one.

The climate issue is also a priority, and an issue in which Sweden has been taking the lead. The Swedish government wants the Union to accept ambitious goals for reduced emissions, increased use of renewable energy sources, and a more efficient use of energy.

Sweden has, in fact, increased economic growth while reducing carbon dioxide emissions, something that has caught the world’s attention, according to the article. The climate will be a central issue during the Swedish presidency.

During the UN Climate Summit in Copenhagen in December, Sweden will represent the EU. The Swedish government is well aware that the economic crisis will make it even harder for members to reach agreement about the climate. It will not be deterred however, and promises to further this important work within the union.

Facts:

The European Council is the name of the summit held by the heads of state, or government of the member states, together with the president of the European Commission, normally four times a year.

The presidency rotates every six months and therefore many issues are inherited from the country that held the last presidency. Before Sweden, France and the Czech Republic held the presidency, so they are now cooperating with Sweden.

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