The comments in many European news media questioning whether Greece has the ability to fulfill its commitments as EU president this semester seem to overlook two very important aspects of the presidency: No country is on its own when it holds the position and the semester’s success will depend on whether or not the 28 member states will take political decisions to reinforce their union.
Athens will be pushing for the completion of an 18-month program adopted over a year ago and some 180 issues passed on from the Irish and Lithuanian presidencies that preceded Greece’s. The task has been complicated by the fact that the semester will be interrupted by the elections for the European Parliament in May. But the major issues that the EU faces include agreement on banking union, measures to boost employment and competitiveness, as well as new policies regarding immigration, security and justice.
These are issues that will depend on the will of all of Greece’s partners to take steps towards closer union, not only on Greece’s competence as mediator.