Author`s name Timothy Bancroft-Hinchey

EU Presidency: Priorities defined

Maximum priority for European Treaty, EU – Africa Summit with date defined, immigration, energy and the adhesion of Turkey highlighted. Lisbon is determined to avoid possible fractures between the 27 Member States of the Union regarding the Treaty and is committed to promoting the quality of public finances, support to SMCs, the creation of a European Institute of Technology and a European maritime policy.

Priorities were defined on the first day of the Portuguese Presidency of the European Union, 2nd July: the European Treaty and the need to proceed with negotiations. In the words of the President of the European Commission, Jose Barroso, the Summit of Brussels gave a "clear and necessary" mandate to conclude the process, while the Prime Minister of Portugal, Jose Socrates, declared it was “an absolute priority”. On 23rd July the proceedings of the intergovernmental conference to write the final text will be launched.

Another priority mentioned by Prime Minister Socrates, is flexi-security – an equilibrium between the flexibility of contracting (in the interest of companies) and security for workers.

Of great importance to Portugal is the holding of the EU-Africa Summit, already with a date defined, namely 8th and 9th December.

Regarding external policy, the dossiers referred during the works were Kosovo, the preparations for the adhesion of Balkan countries to the EU and the negotiations for the adhesion of Turkey, which Portugal favors.

Other projects mentioned were the dossier about the quality of public finances, the creation of a European Institute of Technology to develop a "technological plan for energy" as a first priority in order to galvanize the Renewables sector. Beyond that, Lisbon wants to prepare a new European maritime policy, through a Conference in October to study the results of the Public Consultation on the Green Book of the EU Commission, which aims to choose the sectors to develop a common policy.

On immigration, Lisbon intends to standardize policy, for as Jose Barroso stated, “There are 27 countries with 27 policies”. Another topic mentioned on the first day of the works was the need of review the anti-terrorism legislation, which will take place in December during the Meeting of the European Council.

For tomorrow, the EU-Brazil Summit is scheduled. Apart from President Lula da Silva, the following heads of government and state will be present: Jose Zapatero (PM of Spain), Nicolas Sarkozy (President of France), Roman Prodi (Head of Government of Italy), Janez Jansa (PM of Eslovenia), Jose Barroso, Benita Ferrero-Waldener (Commissioner for External Relations) and Javier Solana (High Representative for Exterior Relations of the EU).

On Thursday, in Guimaraes, there will be an informal meeting of the Ministers of Employment and Social Affairs.