Denmark took over the Presidency of the European Council on 1 January 2012 from Poland in an international context dominated by two crises: an economic crisis, which is causing Euro and sovereign state debt troubles across Europe, and a global environmental crisis, overshadowed by the previous one.
In this background, Denmark will hold the Presidency until 30 June 2012. To win the challenge of not one but both crises, Denmark aims to bring Europe together and make it more resilient to the gloomy future ahead of us. For the 7th time at the head of the Council, in this mandate Denmark has put sustainable growth at the heart of its Programme and will try to ensure that the EU continues to occupy the position of world leader on issues relating to the environment, energy and climate change.
The Presidency’s Programme is based on 4 main priorities: Economy, Growth, the Environment and Security. It has a strong conservation agenda, focusing on sustainable growth in particular. Pushing ahead new legislation on energy efficiency, the 2050 Energy Roadmap and the 7th EU Environment Action Programme. It wants to integrate energy efficiency and sustainable development into the EU’s transport and agricultural policies by increasing the scale of common investment in green technologies and renewable energy and transforming in turn the EU into a more resource efficient economy.
Denmark is also strongly committed to the EU target to halt the loss of biodiversity and ecosystem services by 2020 and the establishment of the Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES). As the Danish Environmental Minister, Ida Auken, stated at the opening of the recent EU expert workshops on IPBES: “IPBES will become a crucial tool. There is no doubt in my mind that not only do we need solid scientific information about the trends in biodiversity, we also need a platform which gather all available information on biodiversity, ecosystem services and their relation to human well-being”. Moreover, she added: “I am very much looking forward to having IPBES as a new partner which will provide answers to politicians and the civil society on questions and challenges that will be crucial in order to secure our wealth and develop our societies in the future”.