UK Presidency of the EU, 1 July to 31 December 2005 - Overview and policy priorities
The UK held the Presidency of the EU from 1 July 2005 until 31 December 2005. Austria now holds the Presidency of the EU. Find further information about the Austrian Presidency here .
HM Treasury is responsible for coordinating HM Government’s work on the Economic and Financial Affairs Council (ECOFIN). ECOFIN is a Council of the European Union composed of the Finance Ministers from the 25 Member States. It meets regularly to co-ordinate economic and financial policy in order to deliver growth and prosperity across the Union. During the UK Presidency ECOFIN will meet 5 times. The Chancellor will chair these meetings and the Paymaster General will take the UK seat. In September ECOFIN will meeting informally in Manchester.
ECOFIN’s key responsibilities include:
- Economic policy and budgetary coordination
- Monitoring of Member States’ budgetary policy and public finances
- Economic and Monetary Union (legal, practical and international aspects)
- Fiscal cooperation
- Financial markets and capital movements
- The improvement of the economic structure of EU Member States
- Economic relations with third countries, including development finance
- EU budget financing
New global economic trends present both opportunities and challenges to which policy makers in Europe need to respond. The Government will aim, through the Presidency and beyond, to develop a consensus on the need for a more Global Europe: a Europe which by becoming more outward-looking and embracing greater flexibility in labour, product and capital markets, delivers high employment for all its citizens.
Outward Looking Europe During the UK Presidency of the EU, in preparation for the UN Development Review Summit in New York in September, Finance Ministers will continue to prioritise meeting the challenge of increasing support to developing countries to meet the Millennium Development Goals. The UK Presidency will build on the June EU-US Summit to strengthen transatlantic economic cooperation to break down barriers to trade and investment, and strengthen the economic partnership between the EU and the US.
Economic Reform In 2000 Member States agreed a series of reforms aimed at making the European Union the most dynamic and competitive knowledge-based economy in the world by 2010. These reforms are more commonly known as the ‘Lisbon Agenda’. Following the mid-term review of Lisbon, the UK will take forward the work on this, focussing on increasing growth and jobs, and looks forward to welcoming Member States’ Lisbon National Reform Programmes.
Better Regulation The UK and the five Member States who hold the EU Presidency between 2004 and 2006 agreed on a ‘Six Presidencies Initiative’ on regulatory reform in order to ease the burden on business and boost European competitiveness. The UK will continue to take forward these principals, ensuring the EU legislates only where it can ad real value and focuses enforcement effort on where the biggest risks lie.
Financial Services The Financial Services Actions Plan (FSAP) was agreed by Member States in 1998. It is a set of 42 largely legislative measures intended to achieve a Single Market in financial services. Much of the work on the FSAP is now completed. ECOFIN Council under the UK Presidency will look at some of the outstanding dossiers and also focus on the next phase of action, the so-called Post-FSAP agenda.
Financial Perspectives 2007-13 As agreed at June’s European Council, the UK Presidency will take forward the discussions on the Financial Perspective 2007-2013, drawing on progress made to date, and with a view to resolving all the elements necessary for an overall agreement as soon as possible. The Presidency will first consult all interested partners on the way forward.
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