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EU needs Luxembourg's negotiating skills

Posted by Nick Prag at 09 July 2015, 16:40 CET |

2015 is a special year for EU presidencies: first Latvia - land of my grandparents - now Luxembourg - land of my youth - which took over on 1 July. It is also possibly one of the EU's most challenging years for presidencies.

Luxembourg's challenges are not very different from Latvia's, with the economy of Greece, Russian aggression and the migration crisis heading the year's continuing themes.

The presidency's own priorities were outlined by prime minister Xavier Bettel in a speech to Euro-MPs at their Strasbourg plenary session  this week. They include investment to boost growth and employment; deepening the EU's social dimension; revitalising the single market through the digital dimension; improving European global competitiveness; sustainable development; and strengthening the EU's presence on the global stage.

It would be a great start if the  EU's biggest challenge were to be allayed by the end of this coming weekend, in the EU's last-ditch effort to save Greece's collapsing economy and its place in the euro.

On the others, its known negotiating skills will be needed.

Luxembourg's "deep-rooted commitment" to European integration is not in doubt. It was reaffirmed on Wednesday by its prime minister, and lauded by Parliament president Martin Schulz, who described the country as "one of the pillars of European integration".

Much needed in the next six months will be its capacity to reach compromises, without which, said Mr Schulz, Europe "could not progress".


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Nick Prag

Nick Prag

Nick Prag is founder and managing editor of Prior to EUbusiness, he was senior editor at Europe Online SA in Luxembourg, where he played a major part in the launch of Europe Online International.