Belgium starts EU Presidency dancing in the streets
Belgium starts its Presidency of the EU by dancing for Europe.
Crowds gathered in twelve towns across the kingdom to dance to a song of the local group Jaune Toujours. Typical for the land of beer, chocolate and "Manneken Pis", the song "Ici Bruxelles-Brussel hier" had bi-lingual lyrics, reflecting the search for balance between the Flemish and the French. The website www.eutrio.be gives a broad overview of the presidency and the importance for Europe. The name of the site refers to the common work programme with the previous Presidency (Spain) and the following Presidency (Hungary). Or does it indicate the future of Belgium, as a more separate yet unified European country in the heart of Europe with Flemish, French and German further independence and a Brussels DC arrangement? In any case, the more modest ambitions of the Belgian government in current affairs and the well prepared Presidency seem to promise a positive, welcome breathe of Fresh air for Europe. By September a series of initiatives will come to the decision phase, making it an interesting time to follow the proceedings. Presseurope says the relative calm of the new Presidency and the string of "smaller" countries in the EU that will follow will be a good thing for the stability of Europe. Belgium will be succeeded by Hungary, Poland, Denmark, Cyprus, Ireland, Lithuania and Greece for the rotating presidency. That gives a period up to 2014, where the Presidency will most likely not seek to bring about any major changes in European affairs.
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So Belgium leads the dance of the EU, and can show that it remains a stable partner, even in times when it is looking for a new identity and internal structures.