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  What can be expected from Germany‘s presidency of the EU?

Darius Varanavičius, political scientist, executive editor of the magazine "The State"
2007 01 24

At the beginning of this year Germany, which is considered nearly the major engine of Euro integration, has taken over the presidency of the European Union. Chancellor A.Merkel highlighted that the motto Germany has chosen for Council Presidency, is „Europe: succeeding together”, and that major priorities will include the initiatives on revitalization of the draft EU Constitution and assurance of energetic security of the EU. The above goals can hardly be considered as simply loud political declarations, moreover that Germany has proved, time and again, that it is able to achieve the results complying with its intentions. However, the situation in the spheres to be addressed by A.Merkel, is quite complicated.

The first issue of relevance is the EU Constitution. Nearly straight after having declared this goal, Germany started to send signals, that it is was not worth to be too enthusiastic on prompt restoration of Constitution. Having in mind long elaboration of the current floundering Constitution and how quickly it was rejected, realization of new initiatives might take more time than half a year. Germany can naturally initiate discussions on the update of the old draft Constitution, moreover, that enthusiasts are looking forward to that. For instance, Lithuania, which has recently expressed its support in terms of revitalization of Constitution. However, hardly will anyone agree to change the procedure of ratification and enforcement of this document, which anticipates the national determination of each of the EU Member States. Revitalization of discussions or submission of a draft acceptable to all the EU states, does not guarantee that a scenario like the rejection of Constitution in France and the Netherlands, will not repeat again. Talks about Constitution can be both, successful and unfortunate. In the first case Germany will be praised, in the second – no one will condemn it in particular. Energetic initiatives are quite a different thing, since these are relevant for the entire EU, which has recently conceived the consequences of disputes of Russia with the neighbors.  

Having in mind the EU initiatives on the common energy policy and diversification of suppliers, the position of Germany is nearly the best to reflect both expectations of separate countries, and common position of the EU. However, A.Merkel surely understands that her initiative on the EU energy solidarity is in contradiction to the by-lateral agreement between Germany and Russia on construction of the gas pipeline through the Baltic Sea. On the other hand, having in mind the discontent of separate EU states, provoked by the above agreement, Germany cannot not ignore the situation in the energy sector, especially in view of the Russian oil war with Belarus.     

Consequently, during the coming half-year efforts will be directed towards prevention of mischief between the EU states and destruction of the relationship with Russia. This will hardly be a period of  determined decisions. Germany‘s motto „Europe: succeeding together“ indicates clearly the direction towards negotiations rather than determined decision-making processes, however, it might be quite difficult for 27 EU Member States to come to an understanding. Moreover, that this understanding must not affect the national interests of neither Russia, nor Germany itself.

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