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.