.The Presidency of the European Council passes from Austria to Finland on 1 July. The Finnish agenda was worked out in co-operation with Austria to enable the creation of a work programme for the entire year.
The main features of the Finnish presidency will be:
European Constitution – the Presidency will work on exploring the options
regarding the Constitutional Treaty in order to maintain momentum.
Enlargement - during Finland’s EU Presidency, Bulgaria and Romania's progress towards meeting the accession criteria will be monitored and a judgement made following the European Commission’s assessment in October of their readiness to accede in January 2007. Progress will continue on Croatia’s and Turkey’s accession negotiations.
Competitiveness - Finland will promote development of the internal market in the controversial areas of services and energy.
External relations – the Finnish Presidency will attempt to engage Serbia in the difficult processes of prosecuting those responsible for war crimes under the former leader Slobodan Milosevic and in determining the future of Kosovo.
Better Regulation – the Finnish Presidency will aim to simplify future legislation, thus making it easier to understand.
1 July 2006