Daniela Kietz, Volker Perthes (eds.)

The Potential of the Council Presidency

An Analysis of Germany's Chairmanship of the EU, 2007

SWP Research Paper 2008/RP 01, January 2008, 112 Pages

By shedding light on the reasons for their success as well as identifying 'best practice', a critical dissection of EU presidencies can improve the functioning of the Union's Council system. The contributions to this study grapple with two questions, namely: what demands were placed on the German Council Presidency by different negotiating situations, and whether the Chair effectively and efficiently delivered on its different roles in the EU process. An object of particular attention is the processes and strategies by which the German Presidency adapted its performance to the demands it encountered.

In order to generate broadly applicable recommendations, the contributions to the study systematically analyse the special resources available to the German government as well as the case-specific national contextual factors that helped define its scope for action. They also isolate the 'external' factors, beyond the Chair's influence, that facilitated - or hindered - its performance.

Almost without exception, the contributions credit the German government with a solid performance in its management and brokerage roles, identifying a range of reasons for its success. These include a clear enunciation of its priorities, its resort to resource-intensive bilateral consultations, and the decisive commitment of the Federal Chancellor and Foreign Minister.

The study closes with a critical look at the question whether the German modus operandi might be adopted by other presidencies. It then sets these developments in the context of the remoulding of the Council system set out in the Reform Treaty. The changes contained there will alter the working conditions of all presidencies from 2009.

Table of Contents:

Daniela Kietz
The Presidency in the Council System: Functions, Scope for Manoeuvre and Room for Improvement
p. 7-18

Daniela Schwarzer
The 'Berlin Declaration' - Trial Run for Negotiations on the Constitutional Treaty
p. 19-24

Andreas Maurer
Pruning, Plundering and Reconstructing. Work on the Constitutional Treaty
p. 25-31

Peter Becker
Lisbon in Berlin and Brussels- the Lisbon Strategy under the German Presidency
p. 32-37

Stormy-Annika Mildner
Between Transatlantic Integration and the Doha Round: The German Presidency as Impulse-Giver and Impartial Broker in Trade Policy Making
p. 38-43

Susanne Dröge / Oliver Geden
Far-reaching Decisions in Favour of an Integrated Energy and Climate Policy
p. 44-48

Roderick Parkes
Asylum and Immigration Policy: Efficient Realisation of a Modest Agenda
p. 49-55

Daniela Kietz
Holding all the Cards. Strong German Impulses for Police Co-operation
p. 56-63

Kai-Olaf Lang
The Profile of the German Presidency in the ENP: Regulated Stimulation and Complex Bargaining
p. 64-70

Andrea Schmitz
Efficiency and Its Costs: The »Strategy for a New Partnership« with Central Asia
p. 71-75

Rainer Lindner
The German EU-Presidency's Russia Dossier: between Rational Interests and Neighbourhood Conflicts
p. 76-81

Muriel Asseburg
The Council Presidency and the Middle East Peace Process: Limited Scope for Action, Primacy of Diplomacy
p. 82-87

Jörg Husar / Günther Maihold
The Council Presidency and EU Relations with Latin America: Competent Management, Little Lasting Impact
p. 88-94

Daniela Kietz / Andreas Maurer
Scope and Limitations of the Council Presidency. An Evaluation of the German Presidency in Light of the Reform Treaty
p. 95-110

SWP Comment

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More than “Just” Historical Issues


Matthias Schulze
Cyber Deterrence is Overrated

Analysis of the Deterrent Potential of the New US Cyber Doctrine and Lessons for Germany’s “Active Cyber Defence”