Monday 6 November 2006

Frederik and Mary at the EU in Brussels

Crown Prince Frederik and Crown Princess Mary have been to Brussels to visit European Union institutions today. During their one-day visit Frederik and Mary began at the Danish Embassy first thing, then they met E.U. Commission President José Manuel Barroso and Commissioner Mariann Fischer Boel (a Danish representative) and other commissioners, Rehn, Hübner, Wallström and Potočnik. During the afternoon they visited the European Union Parliament and the Council of Ministers. The Crown Prince and Crown Princess spent time in the cabinet of Danish representative, Commissioner Mariann Fischer Boel, to get an insight into the workings of the Commission. Later in the day the Crown Prince Couple also met future chairman of the EU Parliament, Mr. Alejo Vidal-Quadras.

Crown Prince Frederik and Crown Princess Mary are welcomed by the High Representative for Common Foreign and Security Policy, Secretary - General of the Council, Spanish Javier Solana, prior a meeting at EU council in Brussels.

Crown Prince Frederik and Crown Princess Mary visiting Mariann Fischer Boel, Danish EU-Commissioner in charge of Agriculture and Rural Development.

Swede Margot Wallstrom, Vice-President of the EC in charge of Institutional Relations and Communication Strategy, welcomes Crown Prince Frederik and Crown Princess Mary at the EU Commission's Headquarters in Brussels.

EU Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso welcomes Crown Prince Frederik and Crown Princess Mary in his office at the EU Commission headquarters in Brussels.

The Council of the Europian Union
Visit of the Crown Prince Frederik Crown Princess Mary (11 photos)
Meeting with EU High Representative Javier Solana (8 photos)
The EU at a glance
Politiken video clip (2:00)
EB webTV (2:00 video clip)

TV2 photo gallery
Added: The Daily Telegraph (Sydney) 'Glowing Princess steps out' (pity they have an error! it was a one day visit)The Telegraph's photo gallery
And new: Pregnant Mary fulfils duties on Brussels trip in Hello! magazine

Also, Billed Bladet #45 reports that Frederik stayed in Brussels overnight while Mary returned to Denmark the same day.

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Blogger lotte said...

Hi eve,

We can only tell you what we know from reports of the visit and from some knowledge of the DRFs contitutional position in Denmark.

According to a report in Berlingske Tidende the visit was an introduction to the many facets of European co-operation. They had an intense day. It began when they were greeted at the airport by Claus Grube, Denmark's EU ambassador. He briefed Frederik and Mary about the current situation in the EU, including info about the reduced political power since France and the Netherlands rejected the EU treaty of constitution last year.

They met the 50 Danish members of the administration who work to represent Danish interests in the EU. In the meeting with General Secretary Javier Solana, who is effectively the EU foreign minister, he gave them a thorough briefing on foreign political issues in Europe.

They then went to the Council of Minsters where they met with Commissioner of Agriculture Mariann Fischer Boel. She had invited the CP couple to Brussels 18 months ago, but it was delayed because of Mary's pregnancy with Christian. She told the press she was happy they were visiting the EU before the next addition to the family.

After lunch F&M separated for different meets. Frederik met with the Finnish Commissioner Olli Rehn about plans for expansion of the EU and then with Polish Commissioner Danuta Hübner about regional economic help for which she is responsible.

Mary met with Swedish Commissioner Margot Wallström, vice president of the EU and responsible for EU communication with citizens. She said she could do with more royal visits (obviously as an aid in highlighting EU activities and benefits etc.). Mary then met with Slovenian Commissioner Janez Potocnik who gave her a briefing on EU research policies.

At the end of the day they met the Chairman of the Commission José Manuel Barroso. They also met with the EU member of the Danish Parliament. Both anti-EU and pro-EU members said they were happy with the attention created by the visit of the CP couple.

Frederik expressed his thanks for the time and insight they had had with the EU commissioners and he told DR tv that it had given them new insight into the EU which was positive and motivating.

Okay, that was Berlingske Tidende's report. The other side of it is that Denmark is a constitutional monarchy and Frederik the heir to the throne, with Mary as his consort. It is their job to represent Denmark and the interests of Denmark in many ways. This involves all the internal and external institutions Denmark engages with, which includes the UN (Mary is a patron of WHO Europe, for example), the EU, NGO's (Red Cross, CARE, etc) and all sorts of international and government to government relationships which the Queen, Prince Henrik and they (F&M) are required to engage with as representatives and facilitators for Denmark and its interests.

The EU is a part of all this. Any discussion about the virtues or otherwise of these organisitions is undoubtedly separate to the involvement and representative activities of the Danish RF. Given the international situation these days, it is probably not a bad thing that there are transnational organisations which have the potential to counter balance some problems of international power relationships, and especially unilateral power. But that is complex, we are sure you would agree, and a huge topic to talk about intelligently -- but it is definitely very interesting.


3:53 pm  
Blogger lotte said...

If you can read Danish you might like to look at Danish EU member Christel Schaldemose's blog at She said Frederik and Mary were "really nice, freindly and down-to-earth, as well as handling the press very well.

4:02 pm  

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