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Trio Presidency

Federal Republic of Germany

Portuguese Republic

Republik of Slovenia

The Treaty Establishing a Constitution for Europe, which was signed in Rome on 29 October 2004, but has never come into force, provided for one of the more notable changes to the institutional framework of the EU by stipulating that individual six-month presidencies be replaced by joint eighteen-month presidencies by three member states, the so-called Troikas. These would be composed so as to consider the established order of rotation, and the size and geographical location of member states. Each member would hold a six-month tenure, with the other two providing support and assistance in accordance with a joint programme. The main goal of introducing the eighteen-month joint presidencies was to strengthen cooperation between three consecutive presiding countries with the view to creating a more coordinated development of the EU's strategic policies.

Although the Treaty Establishing a Constitution for Europe is not legally binding, member states have decided to adopt the concept of the presiding Trio. In September 2006 the Council of the European Union laid down the following in its amended Rules of Procedure: "Every 18 months, the three Presidencies due to hold office shall prepare, in close cooperation with the Commission, and after appropriate consultations, a draft programme of Council activities for that period." In drawing up the joint presidency programme, Slovenia collaborated with Germany and Portugal, both of which presided over the Council of the EU in 2007. In December 2006 they submitted to the General Affairs Council a joint 18-months programme drawn up in accordance with the Council’s Rules of Procedure.

The central issues of the German, Portugal and Slovene trio programme are the continuation of the EU's reform and constitutional process, implementation of the Lisbon Strategy for Growth and Employment, as well as further progress towards the completion of the European area of freedom, security and justice. Furthermore, our aim is to step up cooperation in the sphere of the European Union's joint action on foreign policy.

As well as drafting the trio programme, the trio partners have also agreed to work together more closely during the 18 months in order to foster the implementation of the joint aims and projects named. This applies in particular to issues which will be treated as priorities by all three Presidencies. In addition, Germany, Portugal and Slovenia have taken this opportunity to enhance their political cooperation through joint cultural projects, joint further-training programmes and personnel exchanges.

Each member state also draws up their own 'national' presidency programme, which is largely based on the so-called inherited agenda of the Council of the EU.


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Date: 28.12.2007