While entries on this blog normally address European Union developments with a focus on the beautiful South West region of the United Kingdom and the six MEPs that serve it, this week shall see something rather different.Following eagerly (and humbly) in the footsteps of Julien Frisch in June 2010 and Joe Litobarski in March this year, on Thursday (23rd) I shall become the third Euroblogger to witness first-hand what goes on behind-the-scenes at the summit of EPP leaders.
The June 2011 EPP Summit
, to be held in the Académie Royale de Belgique
in Brussels, will reunite the 17 of the EU’s 27 heads of state and government including French President Nicolas Sarkozy
, German Chancellor Angela Merkel
, Italian President Silvio Berlusconi
, Belgium’s caretaker Prime Minister Yves Leterme
, Hungary’s Viktor Orbán
whose country currently holds the rotating six-month presidency, and Poland's Donald Tusk
whose country will assume it on July 1st.
All have assembled in Brussels ahead of the meeting of the European Council
scheduled for Thursday evening and all-day Friday. In light of the Eurozone's troubles, the finalisation of another bailout for Greece, the backward steps towards the reinstatement of national borders, and Europe scampering to respond to the ‘Arab Spring’, this will arguably be one of the most important meetings of the European Council which is not scheduled to be reconvened until October. On the agenda
: Economic Policy, migration, the accession of Croatia, the inclusion of Roma people, and the endorsement of the launch of the Danube strategy
The European People’s Party
(EPP) is the largest and the most influential European-level political party, and its leaders are meeting ahead of the European Council to prepare their respective positions.
Comprising 75 centre-right member-parties from 39 countries, it is also the largest European political party and boasts amongst its membership 13 European Commissioners (including the President José Manuel Barroso
), the President of the European Council Herman van Rompuy
, and the largest number of members in the European Parliament
with 264 of the 736 MEPs (36%).
Thanks to the EPP for their invitation and for granting me greater access than will be enjoyed by journalists covering the event, this represents a fantastic opportunity for a European citizen and blogger to witness and present to you my dear readers a different side of events than what appears in traditional media outlets.
I shall be tweeting titbits from the summit at @andrewjburgess, but I look forward to hearing your comments, suggestions, and reactions to the latest instalment of this experiment.
Image credit: 'EPP Summit March 2011' by europeanpeoplesparty, on Flickr.