Paving the way for an "ambitious" agreement on the 2014-2020 budget, energy security and the European Union's Eastern neighbourhood are all key priorities of the Polish EU Presidency during the second half of 2011. The Poles, for their part, have pulled all the stops to ensure that the Union remains committed to redistributive policies at a time of economic austerity.
Spain takes on the European Union's six-month rotating presidency at a defining moment for the bloc, marked by the first steps of the Union's first-ever permanent president and foreign affairs chief and efforts to lift Europe out of its worst recession in decades.
Under the motto "a more protective Europe", France takes over the rotating EU Presidency with an additional challenge – getting the EU out of an institutional crisis triggered by the rejection of the Lisbon Treaty in Ireland.
The Slovenian Presidency will focus on Western Balkans relations, energy and climate change, and the implementation of the new Lisbon cycle for growth and jobs when it takes over the EU helm from 1 January 2008.
The Portuguese Presidency, which took over at the EU's helm on 1 July 2007, will focus on concluding talks on an EU Reform Treaty, as well as the foreign policy agenda, with a particular focus on relations with Africa and Brazil.