For the first time an 18-month programme for the three successive German, Portuguese and Slovenian Presidencies was elaborated for the period January 2007 to June 2008. It is the Council's official work programme for that period and was drawn up in close coordination with the Commission. The General Affairs and External Relations Council adopted the 18-month programme during its meeting on 11 December 2006.
This "team programme" is designed to increase continuity in the Council's work. The main themes of the programme are: the continuation of the EU reform and constitutional process, the implementation of the Lisbon Strategy for Growth and Jobs, and the further completion of the common area of freedom, security and justice. The Presidencies regard the EU's sustainability strategy, renewed in 2006, as having a key function in shaping the various policy areas. Last but not least, the task is to intensify cooperation in the EU's joint foreign-policy activities. These include foreign and security policy, international trade relations and worldwide economic and development cooperation.
In line with normal practice, Germany has drawn up a work programme for the Federal Government during the German EU Presidency. This programme not only provides an overview of the many themes and projects to be dealt with during the Presidency but also supplies information about Germany's specific Presidency priorities.
The work programme gives concrete shape to the 18-month programme drawn up jointly by Germany and the subsequent Portuguese and Slovenian Presidencies. It builds on the work of the Finnish Presidency and takes account of the Commission's strategic work programme for 2007.