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Germany and the EU Council Presidency: expectations and reality. ZEI Discussion Papers: 1999, C 35

Verheugen, Günter (1999) Germany and the EU Council Presidency: expectations and reality. ZEI Discussion Papers: 1999, C 35. [Discussion Paper]

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    Introduction. Expectations of a German EC or EU Presidency have rarely been so high as this time. This is true of the expectations of the other member states as well as the public, the citizens themselves. But we only have six months to work in this particularly difficult environment: the European Parliament elections are approaching, the Commission has fallen prey to harsh criticism, and Agenda 2000 brings particularly awkward and complex negotiations. In our Presidency programme, we are building on what is laid down in the treaties and by European Council decisions. We must not pin our hopes too high, rather retain a sense of realism. There could surely have been no more welcome prelude to the German Presidency of the Council than the successful introduction of the euro. After the first trading on international financial markets, people are talking about a "dream start for the euro". But we also know that in the long term we must live up to the feelings of confidence that preceded the euro. The conditions for this have been created. The European Central Bank will continue the noninflationary monetary policy of the national central banks. The member states will support it in this endeavour while fully respecting its independence. Thus, budgetary policy will have to remain consistent with the obligations of the Growth and Stability Pact and there will have to be close multilateral monitoring. Since the euro became reality, the euro area and ultimately the whole of the European Union have entered the economic premier league. Now we must use the euro-generated momentum to bring the necessary progress in establishing the EU's ability for political action. Political union is both the logical and necessary follow-up from the Economic and Monetary Union. We want to place particular emphasis on this area. The historic importance of 1999 is not just due to the introduction of the euro. A busy schedule lies before us with decisions which will shape the profile of the EU well into the next century. We should take the successful launch of the third stage of Economic and Monetary Union as a signal and an incentive to tackle the difficult tasks ahead with the necessary determination and confidence. Peace in the outside world, and stability, security and economic prosperity within, combined with high employment levels: these are the overriding goals of our European policy to which the German Presidency feels especially committed. But it must also be the aim of every Presidency to bring Europe closer to the people and make clear to them the advantages which Europe brings us all. Particular importance attaches to a "citizen's Europe" in a year in which European Parliament elections are to be held.

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    Item Type: Discussion Paper
    Subjects for non-EU documents: EU policies and themes > EU institutions & developments > European Council-Presidency
    Countries > Germany
    EU policies and themes > EU institutions & developments > European Council
    Subjects for EU documents: UNSPECIFIED
    EU Series and Periodicals: UNSPECIFIED
    EU Annual Reports: UNSPECIFIED
    Series: Series > University of Bonn, Center for European Integration Studies > ZEI Discussion Papers
    Depositing User: Phil Wilkin
    Official EU Document: No
    Language: English
    Date Deposited: 12 Mar 2003
    Page Range: p. 17
    Last Modified: 15 Feb 2011 17:15

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