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The Swedish Presidency – speech in plenary

Mr President, I hesitate to phrase it in this way because it does not sound very modest as a Swede, but I think it is fair to say that the European Union and Europe will not be the same after this Presidency. It is a different European Union – a stronger and a better Union – for a number of reasons, some of which I as a Swede am very proud to mention.

First of all, of course, the Treaty that is now in place is changing the institutional balance of this Union, but it is also making it more capable of achieving our political goals. I would like to point to the fact that we have opened up the process of enlargement by the agreement between Slovenia and Croatia, which is important for Croatia, but also in the perspective of the Western Balkans and their ongoing future process of enlargement. This is one of the strengths of the European Union, but it is also an opportunity for all of us.

I think it is also important to point to the fact that, during this Presidency and while we are standing here, the European Union is, for the first time, a leading global actor in one of the most important international issues mankind is facing. This is new and it gives great responsibilities for the future because it is obvious that, whatever is achieved in Copenhagen, the European Union has been playing a fundamental and crucial role in setting the agenda for the things that we should achieve. However successful we are, the job will not be finished, but it underlines the great responsibilities of the European Union.

Then we have the economic recovery, with strict rules for getting public finances in order and for hindering protectionism. I am a Swede, so I may be a little subjective on this issue, but I think we all have a reason to be proud of what we have achieved during this period. But we should, in all modesty, also remember that those achievements give us a great responsibility for the future.