Luxembourg’s outlook for its six months in the European Union rotating presidency is one of determination rather than optimism.Prime Minister Jean-Claude Juncker will present his country’s programme this Wednesday at the European Parliament. But he started the week hosting the formal get-together with the 25-member European Commission. He singled out 2007-2013 budget planning for an enlarged EU as one of the most important areas to cover in the next six months: “It will be difficult, involving long negotiations. I’m not going to kid myself about this: we hope to be able to finish in time. But I want to say that if we do not finish the work during the Luxembourg presidency, the political test of reaching a common position on policy will be very difficult — to find a good accord under good conditions — for the presidency that comes after us.” It is Britain’s turn next. The main areas of work for Luxembourg will be Europe’s Lisbon strategy and global competitiveness, reform of the stability and growth pact, further EU enlargement, external relations with the rest of the world and the ratification process for the European Constitutional project.
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