France pays tribute to Polish EU presidency (Paris, 2 January 2012)
Handover from Poland to Denmark of the presidency of the Council of the European Union – Statement by the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs Spokesman
Paris, 30 December 2011
On 31 December 2011, Poland ends her first European Union presidency and hands over to Denmark. We pay tribute to the work done by Poland during her first presidency and to its success; they are reflected in the conclusions of the European Council of 9 December 2011. During her presidency, Poland has brought to a successful conclusion a number of priorities, such as:
the Eastern Partnership, with a strong commitment to tackling the challenges the European Union was facing: the economic and financial crisis and the Arab Spring;
the strengthening of the European Financial Stability Facility;
the completion of work on the economic governance package (“six pack”);
and the launch, following the European Council of 9 December, of work on finalizing an intergovernmental treaty for a stronger economic union.
The enlargement process also continued during the Polish presidency. A highlight of this was the signature of Croatia’s European Union accession treaty on 9 December 2011, on the sidelines of the European Council. Once it has been ratified by the 27 member states and Croatia, this treaty will enable the latter to join the European Union on 1 July 2013. The Polish presidency also facilitated swift progress on Iceland’s accession negotiations and supported progress on the Serbian and Montenegrin bids.
As regards external relations, the Polish presidency encouraged progress in the European Union’s relations with its neighbours, particularly to the east. The second Eastern Partnership summit, building on the founding summit in Prague in May 2009, was held in Warsaw on 28 and 29 September 2011.
The conclusions of the European Council of 26 October 2011 recalled the European Union’s determination to support the democratic transitions and reforms in the countries south of the Mediterranean, in the framework of the European Neighbourhood Policy. The Polish presidency fully rose to the challenge of the transformations sparked by the Arab Spring, in particular by organizing a conference on the EU and Southern Neighbourhood in Warsaw on 1 and 2 December, and through its special involvement in the Union for the Mediterranean.
During the Polish presidency, timely emphasis was also put on the issue of European energy policy, particularly its external dimension.
We wish the Danish European Union presidency every success. The main challenge we shall have to meet collectively is to make Europe ever stronger, by strengthening the European Union’s ability to establish the mechanisms agreed upon for the Euro Area, establishing credible foundations for the negotiations on the next Multiannual Financial Framework, and revitalizing the internal market. The environmental, migratory and social challenges will be priorities for Denmark, but also for France, during this presidency./.