High hopes for German EU Presidency

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Expectations are high for Germany’s turn at the EU’s helm – crucial issues in months to come include the European Constitution, energy, the Lisbon Strategy and enlargement.

During the first half of its presidency, Germany will focus on energy and innovation policy, while the European Constitution and internal market for electricity and gas will be key to the second half.

Highlights will include the launch of a common European energy policy at the Spring summit on 24-25 March 2007, as well as the 50th anniversary of the Treaties of Rome, topped by the Berlin Declaration, which aims to redefine the goals and common values of the EU.

Following the conclusions of the EU summit concerning enlargement (EURACTIV 18/12/06), there will be a reappraisal of how to proceed with EU-Turkey relations, following the partial suspension of eight negotiation areas. Chapters on four of the remaining 27 areas may be opened, unless a member state opposes this, but no chapter will be closed. 

Concerning the accession of Croatia, the presidency expects to progress and will try to open further negotiation chapters.

Michael Emerson, senior researcher at the Centre for European Policy Studies (CEPS) responded to the results of the EU summit for the continuation of negotiations with Turkey: "I think the Council was not very clear, but relatively positive in its result for Turkey." He noted that there was a "warmer position" from Angela Merkel towards Turkey's emergence. He added that, for Croatia, there was a "green light" to proceed with negotiations.

On 1 January 2007, Germany will take over the rotating EU presidency from Finland, and thus will organise and chair the Council meetings until 1 July 2007. The motto of the presidency is "Together Europe can succeed". Germany will also chair the G8 from the same starting date.

  • From 18 to 20 December 2006EURACTIV will offer special coverage on the priorities and hot issues of the upcoming German EU Presidency.
  • 1 January 2007: Germany takes over the EU presidency.
  • 17 January 2007: Presentation of the presidency programme, speech by Chancellor Angela Merkel.
  • 8-9 March 2007: European Council will adopt the Energy Action Plan.
  • 24-25 March 2007: 50th anniversary of the Treaties of Rome: Berlin Declaration will redefine the broad goals and values of the EU.
  • 21-22 June 2007: European Council: the German presidency will present a document that takes stock of the current constitutional crisis and proposes options for progress. Another issue addressed will be the Lisbon relaunch.

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