Spanish Presidency ready for take-off

The Spanish government of Prime Minister Aznar is taking over the EU Presidency from Belgium on 1 January 2002. Spain’s foreign minister Josep Piqué, presented the priorities of the future Spanish Presidency on 17 December at a press conference in Brussels.
The motto of the Spanish Presidency is “Más Europa” (“more Europe”). It has six main priorities:

  • the fight against terrorism: mutual recognition of judicial decisions, start of Eurojust, more coordination between security forces of Member States, cutting financial resources of terrorist organisations, concluding UN agreement against terrorism;
  • the euro: safe and easy introduction of the euro after 1 January 2002;
  • economic and social reform: moves towards full employment, opening and connecting transport and communication networks, liberalising electricity and gas markets, integrating financial markets, improving education and training of students and ensuring worker mobility;
  • enlargement: reach agreements on agriculture, regional policy and financial measures;
  • foreign and security policy: develop military capabilities of EDSP (European Defence and Security Policy, strengthen relations with the US, Canada, Russia, and Latin America; new impetus to Middle East peace process;
  • the future of Europe: starting the Convention

Every six months, the EU changes its Presidency. The Presidency is responsible for:

  • organisation of the European Councils (the "Summits");
  • preparing of and presiding over the Council of Ministers;
  • representing the Union on the international scene.

An overview of the last four and the next three Presidencies:

Portugal 2000 January-June
France 2000 July-December
Sweden 2001 January-June
Belgium 2001 July-December
Spain 2002 January-June
Denmark 2002 July-December
Greece 2003 January-June

Main dates of the Spanish Presidency:

1 Jan Start of Presidency
1 Jan Euro starts as real currency
18-20 Jan Burgos Informal meeting Employment & Social Affairs
8-9 Feb Caceres Informal meeting Foreign Ministers
13-15 Feb Santiago de Compostela Informal meeting Justice & Home Affairs
21-23 Feb Vitoria Informal meeting Telecoms
15-16 Mar Barcelona Informal European Spring Council
22-23 Mar Zaragoza Informal meeting Defence
12-14 Apr Oviedo Informal meeting Economics & Finance
22-23 Apr Valencia Euromed Conference
27-30 Apr Murcia Informal meeting Agriculture
3-5 May Santander Informal meeting Tourism
24-26 May Mallorca Informal meeting Environment
31 May-1 Jun Gijon Informal meeting Transport
21-22 Jun Seville European Council

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