Presidency of the EU 2008
On 1st January 2008, France, on behalf of Slovenia, took the duties of the local EU Presidency in Hong Kong & Macau. During the 2nd semester of the year, France will assume its duties of the actual EU Presidency.
What is the EU Council Presidency?
The Presidency, i.e. the Presidency of the Council of the European Union, is held by each Member State in turn for a period of six months. During this time, the Presidency is the "face and voice" of the European Union, speaking on behalf of all Member States.
During the first six months of 2008, Slovenia will chair all meetings of Heads of State or Government and all Council meetings. According to the division of duties among the ministers of the Presidency country, the Prime Minister chairs the European Council meetings, whilst other ministers chair the Council formations that correspond with their ministry’s policy areas. These meetings vary in frequency depending on the policy area. Foreign Ministers and Finance Ministers generally meet every month, while other Councils may only meet once or twice during the term of the six-month Presidency.
What are the duties of the EU Presidency?
It is the Presidency’s responsibility to prepare the Council’s work as efficiently as possible and to deliver progress by drawing up compromise proposals and brokering agreements between Member States. It signs approved legal acts and carries the political responsibility for all adopted decisions. It is therefore important that it acts as a neutral mediator in representing European interests and avoids promoting national priorities as far as possible.
The Local EU Presidency in Hong Kong & Macau
The Presidency may also be assisted by the Member State next in line to take over the Presidency, the so-called "Incoming Presidency". That’s why France took the duties of the local EU Presidency in Hong Kong & Macau, on behalf of Slovenia, for the first semester.
For more information about the European Commission annual Report on Hong Kong for 2007,click here
For more information about the first semester priorities under the Slovenian Presidency, you may visit the following website:
Duties of the local EU Presidency
The Commission’s policy towards the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (SAR) was first set out in a 1997 Communication, issued in the context of Hong Kong’s handover to Chinese sovereignty the same year. It underlined the importance of smooth implementation of the ‘one country, two systems’ principle and set out ways in which the EU could contribute to Hong Kong’s political and economic development. The Commission has since issued several statements on developments in the Hong Kong SAR: