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Spain hands over EU Presidency reins to Belgium

According to the Spanish government, it has succeeded in introducing, carrying out and achieving the objectives of its political agenda during its six-month term as the head of the Council of the European Union. Belgium, which will lead the Council from 1 July to 31 December o...

According to the Spanish government, it has succeeded in introducing, carrying out and achieving the objectives of its political agenda during its six-month term as the head of the Council of the European Union. Belgium, which will lead the Council from 1 July to 31 December of this year, is now in the driver's seat. Felipe Petriz, the Spanish Secretary of State for Research, presented the results of the Spanish Presidency in the field of science and innovation at the European Parliament in Brussels, Belgium. 'The Spanish Presidency has fully carried out and successfully achieved the objectives of the political agenda it set for itself at the outset,' said Secretary Petriz, adding that the ministry had devised an 'ambitious and proactive' programme that focused on three key actions: integration, involvement and inclusion. Integration, in particular, targeted the further development of the European Research Area (ERA), what Europeans believe to be a true internal market for research in Europe, effectively bolstering pan-European cooperation and the coordination of national research activities. The Spanish Presidency also proved instrumental in intensifying the 'Europe of Knowledge', emphasising researcher mobility across the board. 'We are confident that we have made a significant contribution to the future development of the ERA,' Secretary Petriz commented. With respect to involvement, the Spanish Secretary of State said all EU ministers supported the San Sebastián/Donostia Declaration 'Science for economic recovery', which emphasises how strong a role science plays in overcoming the global financial crisis. He pointed out that in terms of inclusion, the Spanish Presidency raised awareness and fuelled understanding in how research can effectively 'drive forward human development'. For his part, Diego López Garrido, the Spanish Secretary of State for the EU, said the Belgian Presidency will either finish or continue a number of priorities set out under the Spanish Presidency. The Spaniards, for instance, prioritised at the institutional level the political agreement reached on 21 June in Madrid, Spain concerning the introduction of the European diplomatic service. This work will continue under the Belgian Presidency in the coming months. From July to December, the Belgian Presidency will also focus on implementing several of the major economic initiatives that emerged during the Spanish Presidency. The implementation of the Europe 2020 Strategy is one such example, he explained. Work on a number of proposals targeting the regulation of the financial markets in order to hinder any future crises will also be continued. The Belgian Presidency is also set to drive forward the EU's work on social cohesion and employment, the environment, climate and energy, research and development (R&D), industrial policy, and guidelines for the use and adoption of the 2011 European budget. It is also determined to deepen the Stockholm Programme, which is defining the framework for EU police and customs cooperation, rescue services, criminal and civil law cooperation, asylum, migration and visa policy for the period 2010-2014. 'The outlines of the legacy of the programme drawn up and passed on from one presidency to the next one are quite clear; these issues include legislative proposals and also topics and subjects that are very important for the EU's political balance and its institutional structure, and for the image and success of our Presidency,' said Belgium's Secretary of State for European Affairs Olivier Chastel.

Countries

Belgium, Spain

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