This assessment will examine three sides of the Danish Presidency: its historical context, the Danish priorities and the most difficult challenges.2 It will conclude that the Presidency was largely a function of the political and economic context in which Denmark found itself during January to June 2012. This conclusion is broadly in line with the work of Fernández (2008) and Adler-Nissen (2012a) who argue that the Presidency must be judged in terms of the defence of community interests rather than ‘national interests’. In this context, the Presidency appeared to perform relatively well in some areas such as administrative co-ordination, keeping some policies moving and the interactive role of the Minister for European Affairs. The Presidency appeared unable to do too much in areas that were outside of its reach, such as the eurozone, the budget or external action. The Presidency appeared to encounter difficulty in areas that were a ‘bridge too far’, such as green growth, Schengen reform and co-ordination within the trio. Could Denmark have performed better if it were a ‘full member’ of the EU? This is of course difficult to judge, but at least it would have stood a chance as a eurozone member, which was not the case during 2012.
Journal of Common Market Studies, 2013, Vol 51, Issue S1, p. 70-79