The dawn of a New Year and with it comes a new head of the EU’s rotating presidency. This time it is Spain at the helm and Madrid has made fighting Europe’s economic woes and implementing the Lisbon Treaty its top priority.
Much is riding on the six-month term only a few weeks after Lisbon took effect. Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero has faced criticism of his handling of the economic crisis in Spain but is out to prove his critics wrong:
‘‘Economic recovery, ending the crisis and making Europe more productive, more innovative and more sustainable’‘ were key objectives, he said.
In addition to recovery and making Lisbon work, boosting the EU’s global voice, reinforcing citizens’ rights and improving cooperation in security and illegal immigration are also on the agenda. But critics insist Madrid’s presidency, the first under the 27-strong bloc’s new leadership structure, will create overlapping roles and conflict with other EU institutions.