Next year, in less than 9 months, Cyprus will take over the presidency of the EU Council. Their pre-Presidency website is already online and I just saw that they’ve recently brought (PDF) a new Permanent Representative, Ambassador Kornelios Korneliou.
Kornelios Korneliou was Cypriot ambassador to France and Permanent representative to the UNESCO until recently (source); before he may have been chief of staff at the Cypriot foreign ministry (source), unless this was the other Kornlios Korneliou (PDF) who is currently serving as an ambassador in Vienna (his son?).
European Voice writes that Korneliou’s appointment to Brussels at this time is unusual as countries normally don’t change their EU ambassador less than a year ahead of the presidency, but according to them this was due to the need to get the previous Cypriot representative to the EU to coordinate the EU work in Nicosia.
Also according to European Voice, Korneliou at least has 7 years of EU experience as vice-ambassador to the EU from 2000-07, and indeed he’s referenced in Council documents back then. So he’ll only have to adapt to the Lisbon Treaty realities that changed the Council internally and in particular the relations with the Parliament – but since he appears to know how things go “on the inside” from past experience, one can hope he’ll manage.
However, the Cyprus Mail in a recent article paints a mixed picture about the readiness of the country to lead the Council, questioning in particular the ability to coordinate smoothly within the government and with Brussels, noticing that Cyprus’ distance to Brussels – almost 3000 km – may be an additional burden.
But let’s see where they will be in 8 months and what kind orderly or disorderly house they will get handed over by the Danes whose presidency is about to start on 1 January 2012.