The external role of the Belgian Presidency: out of the limelight, into the shadow?


Year of publication: 2011
Author(s): Edith Drieskens, Peter Debaere, Eline De Ridder, Skander Nasra
Appeared in: Readjusting the Council Presidency. Belgian Leadership in the Council
Publisher: Academic & Scientific Publishers(Academic & Scientific Publishers)


The Lisbon Treaty delivered substantial institutional changes to the EU’s institutional set-up. It decapitated the rotating Council Presidency but at the same time strengthened the legislative role of the Council of Ministers. The rotating Council Presidency was still finding its place in this new institutional environment when Belgium took the Presidency chair in July 2010. Belgium was therefore the first Member State to experience how the position of the chair of the Council of Ministers has changed. By taking a close look at the institutional changes, the particularities of Belgium and the policy areas that are on the EU’s agenda, this book investigates how the rotating Presidency is affected by the Lisbon Treaty and how the Belgian Presidency has implemented the EU’s new rule-book. It shows that Belgium has created a new style rotating Presidency, going back to the basics of chairing the Council while adjusting it to its new political and institutional environment. The area of EU external relations is covered by Chapter 11. Edith Drieskens, Eline De Ridder, Skander Nasra and Peter Debaere discuss a wide range of external policy issues, such as enlargement, trade and the multilateral agenda.