A new contractual basis for the European Union and ambitious climate-protection goals – these are just two of the decisions on the future of the EU taken during the six-month German EU Council Presidency. bundesregierung.de sums up the main successes of the last six months.
The Federal Cabinet took positive stock of Germany's EU Presidency. The EU's transparency and ability to act have been strengthened and concrete decisions have been promoted to the benefit of Europe's citizens.
Europe has overcome a phase of stagnation. "Europe – succeeding together" - this was the German Presidency's motto, and in accordance with that motto Germany, together with its European partners, succeeded in revitalizing the integration process.
Following the rejection by France and the Netherlands of the original Constitutional Treaty the Presidency succeeded in initiating a new contractual basis.
The "Berlin Declaration" marking the EU's 50th anniversary in March had already set European thinking in motion. In that declaration the 27 heads of state and government pledged to move Europe forward once again. The 2009 European Parliament elections are to take place on a new contractual basis ratified by all Member States.
During the June European Council the heads of state and government agreed on a mandate for the Intergovernmental Conference soon to be convened. This mandate is clear and enables the conference to be concluded swiftly before the end of the Portuguese Presidency.
The negotiations at the Brussels Summit, from 21 to 23 June, were tough. But they were worth it. The constitution has been replaced by a Reform Treaty which will modify the EU and EC Treaties.
Even though not all the provisions of the Constitutional Treaty have been included in the amending treaty, clear progress for EU reform has been made. The substance of the EU constitution has been retained.
The most important new features are:
During the German Presidency major progress was also achieved in the field of climate and energy policy. For the first time in the EU's history this policy area has been included in the Treaty.
During the March EU Summit the EU countries agreed to adopt an integrated climate and energy policy with ambitious objectives.
For example, the EU wants to limit global warming to a maximum of 2°C compared to the pre-industrial level. In concrete terms, the CO2 emissions are to be reduced by 20 % by 2020. This figure could rise to 30 % if other industrial countries join Europe in this goal.
The German Presidency also dealt with issues that influence citizens' daily lives. Often these issues involve Europe as an economic area. Just one example: Using your mobile telephone in other parts of Europe will soon get cheaper – thanks to the EU.
Another Presidency aim was to balance security and the need for open internal borders and strong citizens' rights, while at the same time strengthening legal security.
Germany succeeded in increasing the EU's role as a global actor. Some major initiatives: revival of the Middle East Quartet, the new transatlantic economic partnership and the flanking of the Kosovo status process. There were also new initiatives in the field of EU development cooperation.