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Last Updated: Wednesday, 21 December 2005, 13:35 GMT
UK EU presidency scorecard
The BBC News website gives the UK's EU presidency marks out of 10 for its performance in a number of key areas.

The scores measure the UK against its own objectives but are not intended to be definitive judgements.

Your assessments are just as valid, and you can submit them using the postform below.

EU budget 7 A deal was done, but it did not make the UK many friends or bring it much closer to its goal of reforming the CAP. The idea of cutting development aid to the poorest members and the decision to leave negotiations to the last minute were widely criticised.
Enlargement 9 Getting membership talks with Turkey started on time was a major victory for the UK. Macedonia also became a candidate, but partly to please opponents of enlargement, it was made clear that entry talks may not start for years.
Counter-terrorism 6 The UK got a deal on telephone and e-mail data retention, thanks to a huge effort. Also, the EU got its first real counter-terrorism strategy. But hopes of agreeing an 'evidence warrant' - to help in gathering evidence for cross-border crimes - came to nought.
Economic reform 4 Tony Blair made a strong case for reform in June, but there was little follow-up. The Hampton Court summit failed to ignite debate on social models. But a UK drive for better regulation helped prompt Brussels to scrap lots of unnecessary laws.
Environment 6 The UK, on behalf of the EU, helped get an agreement in Montreal to set new emissions targets when the Kyoto treaty expires. But a UK-brokered compromise on the Reach chemicals law disappointed greens, as much as it pleased business.
Poverty and human rights 4 The UK put African debt and fair trade at the top of its G8 agenda - but then helped cut a deal on EU sugar subsidies that will hit poor countries hard. On the plus side, it gave crucial EU backing to a UN agreement on protecting civilians from genocide.



Thanks to the Centre for European Reform, the Institute of Directors, Oxfam, Unicef and WWF for sharing their views.


Tell us what you think of the UK presidency here:


The EU budget "disaster" has been blown up out of all proportion by the long-running tabloid newspaper obsession with Margaret Thatcher. They probably see it as some kind of insult that Mr Blair has "surrendered" the rebate that their darling had won all those years ago.

The fact is the rebate was won at a time when Britain was the sick dog of Europe. It isn't any more. Mrs Thatcher is gone, as are the days when she reigned supreme, and it's about time people got over it. The rebate was totally unjustified in today's Europe and Mr Blair was quite right to give it up. The investment in Eastern Europe will pay off in the long-run through increased trade with those nations. Yes, reform of agriculture is also badly needed, but that will come in time.
DSB, Edinburgh, UK

It's very simple, Tony Blair had no choice but to pay: You can't praise the enlargement of Europe for years and let the others pay the bill.
Xavier, France

The argument that giving up 7m of our EU rebate to Eastern European countries is in 'Britain's best interests' as stated by Blair and others is fatuous. First of all, it will be in the interests of the receiving countries; secondly, it will be in the interests of those countries with the strongest trading relationships with those countries - particularly Germany and Austria. Any benefit to this country will be miniscule. It is positively immoral for Britain to show such profligacy, when there are many disadvantaged people in the poorest parts of the world who really need such largesse. If Tony Blair had tried a little less hard for a deal, the EU would have been forced to wake up to its wasteful and corrupt policies. I give him zero out of 10 for the budget deal.
Chris Gutch, Maidenhead, Berks.

In Germany the most remembered fact about the last summit is that our new chancellor Angela Merkel (about whose competence in international affairs we're not yet quite sure) "saved" Tony Blair who wasn't able to get through a compromise... I expected more innovative outcomes from a UK presidency!
Anne Kura, Osnabrueck, Germany

As a staunch EU supporter I think our presidency has been a disaster. We needed to use our rebate as a major weapon to get Europe to rethink its priorities. What has happened is that we have let Europe down by giving in much too easily to individual country politics. Yes we needed to make a statement, but not give away the jewels until we have a good and fair understanding and settlement with all the other partners. I understand what Blair tried to do, but he is too nice and has let us and the EU down by missing the opportunity.
Mike Dean, Twickenham, London

I give Mr Chirac 10/10. What a negotiator! He had a disastrous loss of face on the loss of the French vote on the Constitution. CAP had to go and he knew it. What did he do? Convince the world that Mr Blair was the guilty party and get Mr Blair to pay 7 BILLION pounds without one single euro of CAP being pledged. In Parliament Mr Blair looked like a man who had suddenly come to earth,and couldn't understand how it happened.
anthony, croydon

I'm afraid that where the European Union is concerned most British citizens see only the subsidies paid to French farmers and very little else. Ironically it's those subsidies that has helped preserve France's unique countryside much appreciated by, oh no, can it be? Yes, it is, large numbers of British second home owners who are probably moaning about the subsidies paid to French farmers....
nicholas slocombe, London, U.K.

Those who are convinced Mr Blair "sold out" British pensioners and taxpayers for Eastern Europeans are in dire need of the most basic of economic education. As with all money matters arising from the UK and the EU, the press and sceptics always fail to take account of the dynamic long-term benefits. By making Eastern Europe rich at our own temporary expense, we are in fact making ourselves richer in the long run - rich people buy more of our goods than poor people, and one euro of investment gives higher returns in the East than it does in the UK.

Overall, those of us who don't rely on tabloids for our economic knowledge will see this budget to be the marginally good thing it is. Perhaps the government should make Economics a compulsory subject for secondary school.
Matthew Walsh, Crawley, England

Being an Englishman living in Europe, I see things in a different perspective to my fellow Englanders. Why should Britain hold onto its rebate more than 20 years after it was agreed, does it say that it is written in stone? Instead of those in Britain thinking about me, me and me, think about those countries and citizens in the EU who do not have it so great. I would think trying to get an agreement with 25 members is difficult enough, so I think TB did the best out of a bad situation.
Peter Morpuss, Prague, Czech Republic

Bob Geldof gave Tony Blair '8 out of 10' on development. This is clearly right: just look at the commitment made in Gleneagles under the UK Presidency to give Africa an extra $25bn per year. And your panel forgot even to mention this? The clowns.
Pete McGeechan, Glasgow, UK

CAP reform was never going to happen in one Presidency, but the UK Presidency and the alliances built by agreeing a budget deal means it is already something that Member States are accepting is inevitable and neccessary.

Unlike the EU budget, domestic financing is not a zero-sum game and less money to the EU does not make a beter NHS, especially when the money the UK invests in the EU is less than Birmingham City Council's budget! This is of course a little known fact and people should be a lot more positive and realise that the UK prior to its EU Presidency would have accepted a lot less than it has achieved at the end of it! It's time people took off their 'tabloid goggles' and thought for themselves. Then and only then can you obtain a realistic view and one where the achievements of the UK EU Presidency 2005 can give you a prouder sense of achievement than Thatcher's initiation of the rebate - that was then and this is now!
Graham Bridgland, East Grinstead, UK

So many people fail to understand what being President of the Council of the EU actually means, and the nature of negotiating with 24 other Member States - your duty is to take forward the EU agenda, which the UK has done successfully in almost every area under extremely difficult circumstances. It does not mean you get to control Europe for 6 months.

Without the UK Presidency's hard work, the EU would have ground to a bickering halt. Instead, we have an EU with an agreed budget deal (look at the details, and you will realise this is a a good deal for the UK) and a commitment to review the budget in 2008; agreement on the Chemicals Directive, sugar reform, and the accession of Turkey and Croatia; and real progress made on better regulation, the Working Time Directive, development and Africa, and counter-terrorism, to name just the headline issues.

Why, as a nation, do we always have to bash everything the Government does? We should be proud that the UK has moved the EU agenda forward so efficiently, and that most other Member States are praising our efforts. Let's stop the whingeing and think for ourselves for once, rather than just parroting the tabloids.
Joseph Lampon, Bromley, UK

Whatever Blair or any British government does and contributes to the EU, will the country ever accept the fact that we need to co-operate with our EU neighbours and work together for the future? I still think most British people live back in the 19th Century and believe in the Commonwealth and the Empire!! When are we going to have politicians who can educate normal people of what we need to do for our future good and genuinely mean it?
Keith Powell, Amsterdam, The Netherlands

This presidency will be remembered for two reasons: for starting talks with Turkey after a farcical summit, mainly because of Austria, and for giving away some of the British privileges. It feels that the UK's presidency was the attempt of Mr Blair to ensure a mention in the European history books. Overall, another average presidency with ulterior motives based on mainly personal gains.

Mr Blair is trying to match Margaret Thatcher's legacy with absolute failure.

The EU appears to be on the wrong tracks, or better in no tracks whatsoever, the slow progress with the constitution is making sure of that.
Dimitri Panagiotou, Serres, Greece

It's interesting that nearly everyone from the UK thinks Blair has sold out to Brussels, while all other Europeans think he has seen only to British interests. He was really in a no-win situation, wasn't he?
Per, London, UK

Britain had no real choice in the outcome of the budget negotiations. The continuance of the British rebate was an untenable position to start with, and to try and horse-trade it with a reform of the CAP was never going to work. The CAP's time will come, once Chirac has gone and the French find themselves out on a limb, in the same way that the UK was over the budget rebate. I am all in favour of helping the Eastern European nations, but am not very happy about allowing Turkey into the EU.
Chris, Sao Paulo, Brazil

Six months isn't a very long time in which to achieve significant reform on an international scale, especially when each of the member states has its own home issues to deal with as well. With so many issues to address in its presidency, I'm surprised the UK did as much as it did - but it's a shame we couldn't have achieved more, or done better on issues such as the environment and poverty. If we hadn't had the problems with the EU budget and the UK rebate, things might have been different.
Lex, Cardiff

Tony Blair achieved the best deal possible by advancing the review of CAP reform against the competing self-interested EU members. He and his team made global advances at G8, Hampton Court and Montreal. He is the best leader we have had since 1945 and we should support his strong stand and try to ignore the head-hunters in the UK media.
RAB., London

EU budget: 5. A poor deal was done - to commit to reduce the UK rebate in exchange for a non-binding review is very weak. Tony shows little understanding of the basics of negotiation - he must try harder.

Enlargement: 4. The EU is too big and unwieldy now. Enlargement makes all the problems worse. We should get to the stage of a properly concluded audit for what we have, reduce the EU involvement to a core set of issues and then embark on enlargement. Turkey is seen as a political bulwark against the Muslim threat but should be obliged to meet all the entrance criteria on human rights and economic issues before it is admitted. Tony tends towards the fantastic without always ensuring he is standing on firm ground - he must get a grip of reality.

Counter-terrorism: 6. Some progress in agreeing a European strategy but Blair will always be hampered by his mistaken decision to go to war in Iraq on a false prospectus.

Economic reform: 6. Blair must continue to press for reductions in the scope of the EU machine and help redefine its core tasks. Could do better.

Environment: 6. Mixed progress here - Tony must differentiate more clearly between hot air, empty rhetoric and action of real substance. He must get classmate George to stop being such a bully.

Poverty and human rights: 5. Tony shows some enthusiasm for this most diffcult topic... He must persuade us all that we are not throwing good money after bad. A recent report showed that Nigerian officials have, over recent years, stolen over 150bn of aid and yet he wants to commit us to further debt relief.
David Humphreys

Overall a poor performance. PM Blair did not do well for the UK. The French rule. Why do we have to be dictated to and cave in? Look at the French farmers as a good example. Margaret Thatcher was a very strong PM. The EU were afraid of her and rightly so.
Brian G. Patterson, Stornoway, Isle of Lewis, Scotland

Movement on Turkey's accession will be seen as Blair's greatest achievement. His failure to capitalise on the temporary decline in France's influence (due to its rejection of the constitution and continuing economic woes), to reform the budget and at least start to end the monstrosity that is the CAP, will be seen as his greatest failure. Overall probably as good as it gets for Britain - which is failure.
Paul Tyler, London, UK

If negative scores were possible, it would be appropriate for the budget farce. He started off saying that he wanted a maximum budget and CAP reform. At the last minute, he panicked, backtracked and gave away 7 billion. He has totally destroyed his own credibility and damaged the UK in the process.
Tim, Winterslow, Wiltshire

Tony Blair has lost any shred of credibility with both UK constituents, and European leaders. "Negotiation" I doubt he could spell it let alone be allowed to represent the UK. Mr Chirac has not budged 1" in his stance on French farming subsidies, and yet TB has still managed to give away 20% of the UK rebate, on a vague promise to look again in 2008. I have never been particularly political before, but I am disgusted at the lows to which this government is dragging my country.
Steve, Colchester, UK

As a negative point of the UK presidency, you list a failure to reform the CAP, but also the reform of a most evil part of CAP, the sugar regime, because supposedly it hits poor countries hard. The sugar regime supported sugar farmers on a few Caribbean islands, and the EU will have to compensate those. But it mostly sheltered industrial French and Dutch farmers against third world competition. The failure was thus too little reform, not the reform itself.

But, as with all other aborted CAP reforms, Blair is least to blame in Europe. It's hard to get much done as an EU president if a majority of countries only thinks of their own agrolobby.
Martijn Meeter, Amsterdam, the Netherlands

Hang on - reform of the sugar regime is a bad thing? I thought getting rid of agricultural subsidies was a positive move. Some ACP countries will suffer - though there are transitional arrangements in place for them - but other poor countries will benefit.
John Edwards, London

The presidency came at a time when Blair's image suffered because of the Iraq war and at the time when a more popular "face" would do a better job. I was glad UK was able to get an agreement on the budget, though, and also had a strong position on helping the developing countries, albeit having UK's own interest in mind first.
Damjan Franz Lu, Ljubljana, Slovenia

EU budget 3/10. No reformation of the CAP.

Enlargement 0/10. It's too big now to work smoothly, so encouraging Turkey for non-economic reasons is not good for the EU.

Counter-terrorism 2/10. Nothing done to stop the causes of terrorism.

Economic reform 4/10. Little done here - but scrapping some pointless laws is always good in the EU.

Environment 0/10. Puts short-term economics before long-term future of humanity.

Poverty and human rights 2/10. Stronger on human rights (where he just has to make pretty speeches with lots of sad eyes) than on poverty, where he hasn't quite grasped the issues.

All in all, a poor end of year report. A poor team player. Tony Blair needs to try harder and listen to others.
Daffers, Brighton, UK

Any Presidency has to be measured against the question how well it served European interests. The UK Presidency always put this issue behind the naked British interests. Therefore, the Presidency has been a complete failure. It is the old "us and them" attitude that keeps the UK from being "at the heart of Europe".
Ronald Vopel, Brussels

I don't believe Blair did anything personally as President of the Council. The machine of government just trudged along and did whatever administrative tasks needed to be done - but as for showing leadership and driving the common European interest, I'd give him a zero.
Thierry, Brussels, Belgium

This is the way I see his achievement: He forced upon us, contrary to the views of many, the start of unconditional entry talks with Turkey, he mixed big speeches with lack of actions, and finally he presented a budget plan which could hardly be called a pro-Europe plan.
Peter, Budapest, Hungary

I think the British EU-Presidency was a complete failure because in the decisive topics no progress was made. Neither the reform of the internal structures of the EU was solved nor the question of the frontiers of Europe was discussed. Britain should either engage more in Europe, contributing essentially to a strengthening of the EU or find its way out.
Dr.Dieter Schmitt, Heidelberg Germany

It is all very well him talking about the rich helping the poor but those of us living on 8000 pa and paying almost a quarter of it in council tax don't see it that way. The knowledge that we needn't have lost half our pensions without his generosity to the EU does not fill me with Christmas cheer. I believe he has sold out the British taxpayer to pave the way for a future lucrative EU job when he is kicked out as PM.
David Cage, Highworth, Wiltshire UK

Strip away the media and political hyperbole, and the UK "Presidency" (i.e. the mere chairmanship of one EU institution - the EU Council - for just 6 months) has been as successful as can be expected. Everyone looks at the budget deal, which isn't bad, but there has been much more achieved besides that, as your website highlights.
Richard, Saltaire, Yorkshire

I think Mr. Blair will receive much criticism at home, and will put a strain into Mr. Brown's ambitions towards number 10. However, when making the EU budget agreement he should have thought of the millions of Britons that need a better NHS, the crumbling schools in the north of England, and the overall need for investment in the UK.
Kimberly Avery, Bradford, England

Being fair, the UK had a lot of agendas and not all of them are going to be pushed through, especially in a Union with 25 members. The biggest deal for the EU was what matters most to them: the EU budget. On issues that matter to the rest of the world, like foreign aid, trade and climate control, the UK flopped. But then again, it seems like big countries in the EU typically fail with their presidencies, while the smaller onces are nimbler and seasoned at negotiations.
SV, NYC, USA

The big prize would have been to get reform of the EU budget, not spend your way out of it. And as for pouring money into eastern bloc countries, aren't we further accelerating the export of our jobs?
John King, York

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