ARTICLES 
Priorities of UK Presidency of the European Union
www.novinite.com, 1st July 2005
The United Kingdom assumed the Presidency of the European Union on 1 July 2005 and will stand on the helm of the bloc until 31 December 2005.

Accession of Bulgaria and Romania

The UK vows to continue strongly to support the process of accession of Bulgaria and Romania. The next six months will mark a critical stage in that process. The Commission will produce its next Monitoring report in late October.
Most member states will start their procedures for ratification of the Accession Treaty in the autumn.
It remains particularly important for Bulgaria to press ahead urgently with the necessary reforms. The Commission's letter to Bulgaria on 9 June highlighted areas of particular priority. These included judicial reform, agriculture, intellectual property rights, the environment and services.
It also emphasised the importance of strengthening administrative and judicial capacity to ensure the implementation and enforcement of European rules after accession.
Once a new government is formed, these issues will need to be urgently addressed.
Spreading information

We will work with a new Bulgarian government and the European Commission to provide more information to people about the European Union. The UK Presidency will spread information, through the media, about the Presidency and the European Union.

In addition, on Friday, 15 July, the UK Ambassador to Bulgaria H.E. Jeremy Hill will join the launch of the EU travelling exhibition called "Europe on Wheels". This is an initiative of the Commission delegation, which forms part of their programme on information and communication.
Spreading information and expertise in Bulgaria about European funds will be a particular priority. Regional towns have showed impressive commitment to prepare for entry into the European Union. The UK Presidency will seek to strengthen the links already established between the regions of Bulgaria and regions in the rest of the European Union.

Turkey. Croatia and the Western Balkans
The agenda of enlargement not only concerns Bulgaria and Romania but also Croatia and Turkey. We will take the process forward with these countries on the basis of the agreed European Council conclusions.
Internal Agenda
We are aware that we inherit from the Luxembourg Presidency a challenging internal agenda.

Future Financing
We were disappointed by the failure of the last European Council to reach agreement on the budget for the period 2007-2013. We will do our best to reach agreement on Future Financing under our Presidency.

The Constitutional Treaty
Following the "no" votes in the French and Dutch referenda, there will be a period for reflection on the future of the Constitutional Treaty.
Although some Member States may continue with their ratification procedures for the Constitutional Treaty, others have put their process on hold.
Response to Global Challenges
In this period of reflection, there are many issues to reflect on. One important issue is how Europe responds to globalisation. European countries face challenges not just from the large established economies such as Japan and America. They also face challenges from China, India and the South Asian economies.

The UK Presidency will actively pursue what is called the Lisbon agenda - the programme of the European Union, which encourages economic reform, the creation of modern employment policies, greater investment in research and innovation, balanced by social policies fit for the 21" century.

Better Regulation
The British Presidency will seek to promote other reforms in the internal agenda of the European Union, many of which would create jobs and increase competitiveness.
It will work with the Commission to implement the agenda set out in its Communication on Better Regulation. In practice, this means testing European legislation for its impact on the EU's international competitiveness and the extent of its burden on business.
The Services Directive

The United Kingdom pledged to make progress with the Services Directive, as services account for two thirds of the GDP of the European Union.
The Directive is an opportunity to make one of the biggest improvements to the Single Market since its original creation.

Europe's Role in the World
We want to enhance Europe's role in the world.

World Trade Talks
During the British Presidency there will be a further round of world trade talks - a Ministerial meeting in Hong Kong in December.

Africa
The European Union's target is double its aid to Africa by 2010. We will work to relieve debt, improve governance and combat disease.

G8 Presidency
The United Kingdom shares the Presidency of the G8 group of countries at the same time as our Presidency of the European Union. There will be a summit of G8 countries in Scotland on 6 July.

Climate Change

Among global issues, climate change will be another priority for both our UK and G8 Presidencies.

The External Agenda
In addition to enlargement, the European Union has a substantial external agenda - including relations with Iran, support for Iraq, the Middle East Peace Process, relations with Russia and the Ukraine, relations with the United States, relations with China, and relations with North Africa, including Libya.

Relations with Libya
Relations with Libya are of particular importance. We are profoundly aware of the suffering of the Bulgarian medics and the Palestinian doctor. We will work closely pith the Bulgarian authorities for a resolution of their case. We will actively promote EU Action Plan to assist the AIDS victims in Benghazi.

Terrorism, crime and security
The UK Presidency will make progress on the Hague Work programme, the EU Counter Terrorism Action Plan and the European Evidence Waram.
It is in the interests of all European countries to work together to combat crime and terrorism. We want to enhance the security of the external borders of the European Union. Here Bulgaria can be of particular assistance.

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