Sweden's Permanent Representative to the EU, Gunnar Lund, was among those on the panel at an informal presentation of the priorities of the Swedish Presidency in Brussels 12 December. The meeting was organised by the Brussels-based think tank Centre for European Policy Studies (CEPS) and the Swedish consultancy Kreab.
More than 400 attendees heard Mr Lund say in reference to Nice that "by enlarge, a good agreement was struck." Crucially for the Swedish Presidency, he felt that the changes that were necessary for enlargement to be able to go ahead were made. He also stated that Sweden and Belgium, who have the Presidency after Sweden, have been charged with carrying out preparatory work on the new IGC that was agreed at Nice for 2004.
Mr Lund outlined the 3 'E's that form the priorities of the Swedish Presidency: Enlargement, Environment and Employment. Each of these themes was expanded upon by a subsequent speaker. Several points stood out for each of them:
- Enlargement - the injection of new momentum to the enlargement process and a commitment to differentiation were emphasised.
- Environment - the pursuit of sustainable development and the integration of environmental concerns into sectoral policies was stressed. The focus will be on climate change, human health, biodiversity, and resource and waste management.
- Employment - the main work here is the following up and implementation of the plans laid down at the Lisbon Summit under the Portuguese Presidency.
Details of the Swedish Presidency's priorities can be found on the official Swedish Presidency website.