Clear Swedish air for EU presidency

DISCLAIMER: All opinions in this column reflect the views of the author(s), not of EURACTIV Media network.

“It’s the Swedes’ success in melding capitalism and social welfare and environmental responsibility that will serve it well over the next six months,” writes Gerald Loftus, a former diplomat, in a July post on Blogactiv.

“The timing of the Swedish Presidency is either inspired or fortunate, or both, given the upcoming Copenhagen climate change conference,” he said. “The EU will have at its helm a country that walks the walk when it comes to environmentalism.”

But “it will [not] be all sweetness and light,” he wrote. “Today the Russians said nyet to the Stockholm venue for EU-Russia talks,” he explained.

Moreover, “the Swedish Presidency will have to deal with the unresolved matters of the second term of EU Commission [President] José Manuel Barroso and the still unratified Lisbon Treaty,” he added.

“But it will be a breath of fresh air to have coordinated, conscientious and image-conscious leadership at the European Council,” Loftus conceded.

“Maybe the Swedes can give the European brand a lift while they’re at it,” his post concluded. 

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