Jonathan Fryer

Celebrating Sweden’s EU Presidency

Posted by jonathanfryer on Tuesday, 1st September, 2009

Cecilia MalmstromThe Yehudi Menuhin room at the European Parliament in Brussels was packed to the gills this evening, for a reception hosted by the Parliament Magazine (the EU equivalent of the UK’s House Magazine), to celebrate Sweden’s six-month EU presidency. That presidency actually began on 1 July, but continental Europe has effectively been asleep for the past month. At least the European Parliament is up and running again, unlike Britain’s House of Commons, which will slumber on well into October.  So many people turned up for this evening’s jamboree that the champagne soon ran out (a bit like a fringe event at the LibDem Party Conference, really), but people consoled themselves with typical Swedish delicacies including pickled herring, shrimps and IKEA meatballs. My longtime political chum, former MEP and now Sweden’s Minister for Europe, Cecilia Malmström, valiantly made a short speech, over the cacophony of interns’ chatter, flagging up some of Stockholm’s priorities before the end of the year. Obviously, economic recovery figures large, as does getting a strong united front on climate change in advance of the Copenhagen summit, but I was pleased to see that Sweden is also pushing a Baltic Sea initiative,  as well as promoting the EU candidacies of the Western Balkans and Turkey.

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