The speaker for this event will be Greece’s PermRep Theodoros Sotiropoulos, whose views on the Greek Presidency can also be found in the Consilium Journal, for those with access to the GSC intranet. In an earlier speech, he outlined his country’s priorities for the presidency.
This is the fifth time that Greece holds the rotating Presidency of the Council, after having joined in 1983. The last time was in 2003. For its fifth-time presidency programme Greece chose the motto “Europe: Our Common Quest”. The programme focuses on four main areas:
- growth, jobs and cohesion;
- further deepening of economic and monetary union;
- migration, borders and mobility;
- maritime policy.
“The priorities you have set for your presidency illustrate well our common goals, what citizens care most about: jobs, a growing economy; strong banks in the eurozone and security at our common borders”, said President of the European Council Herman van Rompuy in his speech at the inauguration ceremony in Athens.
Last week, CEPS published a critical review on the Greek Presidency by Filippa Chatzistavrou, ‘Defying the Oracle? The 2014 Greek Presidency of the EU Council‘. She argues that the “lack of political leadership in Greece reinforces the already weak institutional position of the rotating presidency.”
A few weeks earlier, the Polish Institute of International Affairs (PISM) published a brief paper, “Greece at the EU’s Helm: A Short Presidency with a Crisis Stigma” by Paweł Tokarski, which highlights the unfavourable political context at home due to the crisis, and the one at the EU level due to the upcoming elections clouding the waters. “The first half of 2014 will be eclipsed by dynamic national campaigns for European Parliament and subsequent bargains concerning key EU posts.”
Further reading on the topic of the rotating presidency can be found in the Central Library specialised bibliography of the Council, with over 400 records (books and articles).