While experts call for deep changes, Austrian Presidency holds its cards

The EU Presidency plays down expectations for the end of the reflection period and for reconnecting with citizens’ and the economy’s needs.

Dr. Winkler, Austrian State Secretary for Foreign Affairs, was addressing the CEPS annual conference on 22 February. He stated that a solution to the Constitution blocking would emerge over several Presidencies rather than a promising an Austrian proposal by June, end of the reflection period (see EURACTIV, 20 January 2006). 

While repeating as top three priorities “securing jobs and economic growth”, “protecting and modernizing the social model” and “reconnecting with the people”, no new initiatives were mentioned on implementing Lisbon action plans and on EU communication. He did predict a final deal on the financial perspectives by April or May. The next day, Janusz Lewandowski, Chairman of the budget committee, explained the efforts made by the Parliament to progressively “Lisbonize” cohesion policies. 

Asked by Daniel Gros of CEPS why the Parliament focused on the overall amounts rather than reallocating to future-oriented policies, Mr. Lewandowski talked about gradual changes and welcomes further debates until the 2008 review point (see EURACTIV, 20 January 2006) 

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