Islamabad - After an eventful six months for the Danish EU Presidency, the Danes have now handed over the baton to Cyprus. However, during the six months presidency, Denmark worked towards several achievements – more than 250 concrete results. One of them has been the continuous support for Pakistan in driving the Autonomous Trade Package (ATP) and inclusion of Pakistan in the GSP plus scheme. The Danish support was highly applauded by both President Zardari and Ms Hina R. Khar, during the recent visit of the Danish Foreign Minister, Villy Sovndal to Pakistan.
The EU Trade Package will help Pakistan deal with economic losses caused by the unprecedented floods in Pakistan in 2010-11. It would also help increase Pakistan exports to EU countries with an estimated boost of USD 300 million as well as generate thousands of jobs in Pakistan,
Denmark took over the Danish Presidency on 1 January 2012 from Poland. The economic situation and the continued escalating debt crisis in Europe, contributed to creating a situation where tensions were running high and patience was running low. There was thus a need to build bridges. “We needed to build bridges between the different positions in the Council; Build bridges between the euro area countries and the countries outside the single currency”, stated Mr. Nicolai Wammen, Danish Minister for European Affairs.
The Danish EU Presidency programme defined four fundamental priorities: a responsible Europe, a dynamic Europe, a green Europe and a safe Europe. These were headings that encapsulated the challenges that Europe faced, and which Europe would need to prioritise during a period of time characterised by economic crisis and global shifts of power.
“No one in Europe is against growth. The challenge lies in creating growth without the continent falling deeper into debt. Europe and the rest of the world for that matter need growth that is built on a sustainable foundation. It is a question of ensuring responsible growth, and it is this approach we brought to the negotiating table, for Pakistan included”, said Mr. Wammen.
Indeed, other great results were achieved within the green agenda. Denmark reached agreement with the European Parliament on the Energy Efficiency Directive; an agreement that can create several hundred thousand jobs in Europe and reduce energy consumption by approx. 17 per cent by 2020. Added to this is the adoption of the EU’s Energy Roadmap 2050, in which the EU has sent a strong message to the markets and investors about EU’s long-term commitment to renewable energy and energy efficiency. “This is something which I believe the Danish Presidency can be proud of”, said Mr. Wammen.
Citizens’ rights have also remained one of the cornerstones of the European cooperation. During the Danish Presidency, several results have been achieved in the area of justice and home affairs that contribute significant progress, benefiting both EU and third-country citizens. For example, changes have been brought to the rules concerning the conditions for asylum seekers whilst they wait for their application to be processed as well as created greater clarity regarding which Member State is responsible for processing an asylum case.
“We believe that the rights we ensure our own citizens are rights we must naturally also seek to extend to the rest of the world. Even though the crisis is far from over, we have taken the first steps on the path to exit the crisis and introduced rules and mechanisms designed to prevent Europe from being thrust into a similar situation in the future - as well as strengthen the European cooperation with the world. With this in mind, I look back with satisfaction on a successful Danish EU Presidency”, said the Danish Minister for European Affairs, Mr. Nicolai Wammen.