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Czech Presidency - a rocky road to Lisbon


06 May 2009


EU Priorities 2020

At the European Parliament's final plenary session before elections in June and in the midst of a deepening economic recession, the Czech Presidency of the EU is entrusted with bringing to a conclusion key legislation and coordinating Europe's response to the crisis. Liberal and Democrat MEPs voiced their criticism and concern in equal measure.

"The Czech Presidency has not been all bad as it did conclude negotiations on a number of important pieces of legislation but it has been a rocky road to say the least: We have the most eurosceptic President yet to take office, a government collapse at the half-way point and a long delay in ratifying the Lisbon Treaty. said ALDE Leader Graham Watson.

"The appointment of the next President of the Commission should take place on the same legal basis as the appointment of the College of commissioners. Either all as laid down in the Nice Treaty or all as specified under Lisbon."

Andrew Duff (UK, Lib Dem), ALDE constitutional affairs spokesperson also spoke in the debate addressing in particular nomination and approval process for Commission President:

"If Mr Barroso expects us to back him for President in July he should publish his manifesto now, setting out his programme for a second term. He should set out his strategy for the financial reform which must be completed in 2012. We urgently need a proper budgetary policy. The new Commission must make the case for a transfer of spending from the national to the EU level in the interests of cost efficiency and added value. It must include an expansion of eurozone membership and support for a much stronger euro-group committed to tighter fiscal discipline and a common economic policy."

ALDE economic affairs specialists, Olle Schmidt (Folkpartiet, Sweden) and Margarita Starkeviciute (Liberal Centre Union, Lithuania) also intervened to defend the central importance of the Single Market in ensuring Europe's future economic growth. "It is difficult to understand why EU leaders, having in their hands the Internal Market - the most solid macroeconomic stabilisation instrument - are failing to use it for offsetting the pressure of the world financial crisis on the real economy," she said.

"Each Member State is trying to address their own problems by creating national economic recovery plans and with some degree of coordination at eurozone level. But there is a danger of fragmentation of the Single Market and of separate treatment for old and new Member States yet all have a shared responsibility for its smooth functioning."


For more information, please contact:
Neil Corlett: +33-3-88 17 41 67 or +32-478-78 22 84
Tsvetelina Nacheva: +33-3-88 17 31 34 or +32-473-83 55 88