Czech President Vaclav Klaus, an economist and self-proclaimed 'Euro-dissident,' is critical of much of the governing body's efforts.
PRAGUE, CZECH REPUBLIC
Now the economist's shadow will loom over the EU as never before, when France officially hands over the six-month rotating presidency of the 27-member bloc to the Czech Republic on Jan. 1. The position gives each member state a chance to set Europe's agenda and advance one or two large initiatives.
France has received mostly high marks for its turn at Europe's helm, with French President Nicolas Sarkozy credited with leading the EU's diplomacy during the Russia-Georgia war, orchestrating a European approach to bank bailouts, pushing through climate-change legislation and revising the beleaguered Lisbon Treaty, the EU's attempt at a constitution.
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