Energy and environment
Subject: Energy efficiency, bio energy and innovation will be the presidency's main priorities during the first half until March 2007.
State of play: The Commission is drawing up an important energy package, including an “energy action plan” to be presented on 10 January 2007, which will be discussed at the European Council in March. This will especially look at the issues of energy efficiency, bio energy and innovation, but also the more difficult issues of energy solidarity, national energy mix and national energy champions. The German Presidency wants to complete the internal market for electricity and gas until 1 July 2007.
Subject: The German Presidency will also put emphasis on the issues related to job creation and growth, especially during the first half until March 2007. In this context chancellor Merkel will try to further promote better regulation and reduce bureaucracy.
State of play: Aim of the presidency is to re-launch the Lisbon strategy agreed by heads of state and governments in 2000, to come up at the Competitiveness Council 19 February 2007 and the spring Council on 8-9 March 2007. There will be special emphasis on better regulation and trying to include the principle of "discontinuity at EU level, as well as making European companies more competitive.
Subject: Germany will re-launch the constitutional project during the second half of its presidency. The intention is to find a solution to the constitutional impasse that will be implemented under the French Presidency and before the elections to the European Parliament in June 2009.
State of play: Following the failed referenda on the EU Constitution in France and the Netherlands in 2005, the EU decided to engage in a period of reflection. By January 2007, 18 countries will have ratified the EU Constitution, accounting for 2/3 of member states. The German Presidency intends to foster the debate between the national capitals and is consulting with other member states across the EU. A final treaty should be agreed by 2007 in order to be ratified before the European Parliament elections in June 2009. The German Presidency will draft a report, to be presented in June providing an analysis of the current institutional crisis, recommendations concerning the existing treaty, as well as the future solution.
Subject: Turkey and Croatia are both candidate countries currently negotiating their EU membership.
State of play: While the Commission recommended that talks with Turkey be partially suspended, the negotiations with Croatia are ongoing. The Commission plans to draft a report on Turkey-Cyprus relations after the Turkish elections in 2007. Concerning Croatia, the presidency expects to open several negotiation chapters and continue the accession process.