This 1 January, will see the Belgian flag give over to the Hungarian flag as banner of the European Union’s rotational presidency, which changes every six months. Belgium has managed its whole term under a provisional government, and quite successfully, according to the media at home and around the EU.
Acting foreign minister Steven Vanackere says the Lisbon Treaty, newly in force… :“Clearly asked for a pulling back on the part of the presidency from the European Council and foreign affairs Council, and we complied.”
Belgium, as one of the European Community’s founder states, had a reputation of competence to uphold, and acting Prime Minister Yves Leterme achieved that.
While summer’s federal elections put the New Flemish Alliance in winning position, nationalist leader Bart De Wever worked with no more success than others in talks to form a new government. Language community political divisions proved insurmountable.
The EU presidency fared well enough, Vanackere saying: “We facilitated the search for a consensus in matters of economic governance. We completed the arsenal of legal texts on financial supervision. We successfully adopted the 2011 budget.”
In the Lisbon spirit, Belgium supported full-time Council President Herman Van Rompuy (also Belgian) and foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton.
Hungary has said it aims to promote euro-zone stability, EU budget aid for poorer member states and energy independence.