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44 J. Common Mkt. Stud. 51 (2006)
The Luxembourg Presidency: Size Isn't Everything

handle is hein.journals/jcmks44 and id is 1167 raw text is: 


JCMS  2006 Volume 44 Annual Review pp. 51-5


The Luxembourg Presidency: Size Isn't

Everything



DEREK HEARL
Eastern Mediterranean University








Introduction

1 January2005 saw the beginning, not only of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg's
1Ith EU  presidency, but also the fourth time that its Prime Minister, Jean-
Claude Juncker had  been at the EU helm - more often than any other single
individual.
   The first presidency semester of 2005 was always going to be a challenging
one. The various dossiers that were carried over included two especially dif-
ficult and complex issues: the comprehensive mid-term review of the 'Lisbon
process' and what was  to prove the poisoned chalice of the EU's 'financial
perspective' (long-term budget) for the years 2007-13. In addition, there was
the ongoing ratification of the proposed European Constitution, as well as a
number  of potentially sensitive foreign policy dossiers.
   Nevertheless, there were grounds for optimism. Luxembourg has considerable
experience at holding the presidency and a generally enviable track record of
success. Juncker, the EU's longest-serving head of government, had a reputa-
tion as an effective EU 'fixer', combining linguistic and negotiating skills with
a dogged  Europeanism.  While the prime minister inevitably dominated the
Luxembourg  presidency, the Foreign Minister, Jean Asselborn, and the Minister
of Justice, Luc Frieden, both made particularly important contributions.
   Obviously the Grand Duchy's professional permanent civil service is far too
small to be able to shoulder the burden of an EU presidency without significant
augmentation  and assistance. The country tries to deal with this problem by
bringing home Luxembourgers   working abroad, particularly embassy staff and
C 2006 The Author(s)
Journal compilation C 2006 Blackwell Publishing Ltd, 9600 Garsington Road, Oxford OX4 2DQ, UK and 350 Main Street, Malden, MA 02148,
USA

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