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Title: Introduction : a successful small country presidency
Other Titles: Malta's EU Presidency : a study in a small state presidency of the Council of the EU
Authors: Harwood, Mark
Moncada, Stefano
Pace, Roderick
Keywords: Editorials
Council of the European Union
European Union -- Malta
European Union -- Politics and government -- 21st century
Issue Date: 2018
Publisher: Malta University Press
Citation: Harwood, M., Moncada, S., & Pace, R. (2018). Introduction : a successful small country presidency. In M. Harwood, S. Moncada, & R. Pace (eds.), Malta's EU Presidency : a study in a small state presidency of the Council of the EU (pp. 1-6). Msida: Malta University Press.
Abstract: Malta assumed the presidency of the Council of the European Union in the first half of 2017, almost 13 years after joining the Union. The Institute for European Studies of the University of Malta thought that it would be appropriate to assess some of the aspects of this presidency and to do so from a small state perspective. To set the basic conceptual context, it is important to highlight what Anders Wivel observes in his chapter to this volume, that lacking the resources to pursue power politics, small states have to rely on their diplomatic resources. Since the presidency’s main role is that of an “honest broker”, requiring untiring efforts to achieve concord between the member states on often difficult and divisive dossiers, it calls for attentive and patient diplomacy, an approach that fits well with a small state’s preferred methods in world politics. The resources of small states are inherently limited in many aspects: fewer information sources, a small pool of personnel qualified to take part in the Presidency’s work, including in-depth analysis of the issues on the table and, ultimately, restricted financial resources. At the start of the Presidency, Malta’s Minister of Finance was reported to have told journalists that the financial provisions to cover the Presidency’s expenditure had been set aside in two tranches in two annual budgets approved by Parliament. Notwithstanding these drawbacks, at the end of the Presidency Politico was able to report that Malta had been praised for its diplomatic prowess in managing to broker agreement on a range of issues. This is not a small achievement by the EU’s smallest member state. [excerpt]
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