A new EU treaty in October is the priority set by the Portuguese for their time at the top. At the end of the EU summit on 21 and 22 June, Portuguese prime minister José Sócrates announced that the Portuguese presidency would aim for negotiations to start on 23 July. Over several months, this "intergovernmental conference" would see representatives from the EU's member countries drawing up the future EU treaty.
Other priorities include preparing the next round of the EU's growth and jobs strategy, which the Portuguese would like to focus more on innovation; immigration, legitimate and otherwise, and whether more EU countries should join the Schengen area.
Internationally, the Portuguese will concentrate on relations with Brazil, Africa and the Mediterranean. Highlights will be the very first EU-Brazil summit on 4 July, and December's EU‑Africa summit, which should lead to the adoption of a common strategy.
Since January 2007, a new system for the EU's rotating presidency introduced a common programme for three consecutive presidencies, to ensure continuity of policy. The current "bloc" of presidencies - Germany, Portugal and Slovenia - have set four top priorities:
- drawing up a new treaty
- consolidating the growth and jobs strategy
- adapting the EU's security and law and order policies to a changing world
- boosting the EU's role on the international stage.
Although the presidency is shared by three countries, each has a six-month period where they are officially in charge. During its time at the helm, Portugal will set out its own stance on each of the four priorities.
Portuguese presidency homepage