How can journalists get accreditation for events during the German EU Council Presidency?
The accreditation process for Presidency events takes place online. Further information and the accreditation form can be found on this website in the section "Media service" under the menu option "Accreditation".
What exactly is Aktion Europa and how can I learn more about it?
With the Aktion Europa initiative, the Federal Government intends to enter into an intensive dialogue on European issues with citizens in Germany. Working together with the Representation of the European Commission in Berlin and the German Information Office of the European Parliament, as well as the Länder, the towns and communities and, above all, the many partners in civil society engaged in European projects, the Federal Government hopes to promote knowledge and understanding of the European Union and get to know citizens' general attitudes and expectations with regard to the EU. The initiative also aims to include citizens in the European policy-forming process. More information can be found under www.aktion-europa.de .
How long does Germany's EU Council Presidency last?
Germany will preside over the Council of the European Union from 1 January 2007 to 30 June 2007. The Presidency of the Council of the European Union rotates every six months.
Which countries will hold the Presidency after Germany?
Portugal is next in line to hold the EU Council Presidency. It will be followed by:
When will Germany next hold the Presidency?
That is not yet known. The order of rotation for the Presidency amongst the Member States has been established up to 2020. Germany is not expected to hold the Presidency again during this period.
What is the Presidency working programme?
Each country set to take on the Presidency draws up a working programme for its period in charge. The German Presidency's working programme thus focuses on the first half of 2007. Another programme is drawn up between the "Trio Presidency", i.e. the current Presidency and the two countries next taking on the role (in this case, Germany, Portugal and Slovenia). This sets out the longer-term projects of the next 18 months. Portugal and Slovenia will be responsible for leading and developing these projects when they take on the Presidency after Germany.
What are the main points of Germany's Presidency programme?
Germany's Presidency programme provides an overview of the manifold topics and projects which will be discussed in the Council meetings. It also sets out Germany's priorities, i.e. the areas on which it intends to focus during its Presidency. These topics are divided into four chapters. The first concerns the vital further development of the EU into an effective community. The second covers projects intended to shape Europe's economic, social and ecological future. The third chapter is dedicated to measures conceived to advance the European area of freedom, security and justice. The fourth deals with projects and measures in the fields of Common Foreign and Security Policy, external economic affairs policy and development policy.
What is the "troika"?
The troika comprises representatives of the country holding the Presidency, the Council of the European Union and the European Commission. The country next due to hold the Presidency also takes part in the troika where necessary. The troika supports the Presidency country in foreign policy matters, particularly those relating to the Foreign Common and Security Policy. The troika system ensures the continuity of the Presidency's work.
Where can I find information about the terms and abbreviations used in the European Union?
What exactly are informal meetings?
Informal meetings allow the ministers responsible for individual policy areas to exchange opinions and discuss topical European issues without fixed agendas and strict guidelines. They are different from Council meetings and cannot replace the work of the latter. For this reason, informal meetings have no official agenda and result in no formal conclusions or decisions. Responsibility for organizing informal meetings always lies with the country holding the Presidency. Germany has planned 14 during its Presidency. The most prominent of the informal meetings is the "Gymnich" meeting, which brings together the Foreign Ministers of the individual Member States.
How do I find out about meetings during the EU Council Presidency?
The official Presidency website www.eu2007.de includes a calendar containing all of the important events taking place during the EU Council Presidency. Further information on the events can be accessed by following the links provided.
Press conferences on meetings of the Heads of State and Government and on informal ministerial meetings can be followed in real time via a live stream. Excerpts from the press conferences can be downloaded as podcasts. The Presidency website's comprehensive media service also includes an RSS feed, which offers brief, text-based information on the meetings.
How many meetings will be held during the German Council Presidency?
The German Presidency will organize and chair around 3,300 meetings. Most official meetings will take place in Brussels, and only a few in Luxembourg. The majority of meetings in Brussels involve the committees and working groups responsible for preparing Council decisions. Around 2000 meetings of this kind are estimated to take place in every six-month period. All informal meetings at ministerial level will be held in Germany. The European Union will also meet with third countries.
What are the most important meetings during the EU Council Presidency?
A highlight of Germany's Presidency is the informal meeting of Heads of State and Government of the European Union in Berlin on 25 March 2007, an event marking the 50th anniversary of the Treaties of Rome signed on this day in 1957. The Heads of State and Government will also come together twice in Brussels for the official Summit meetings known as "European Councils" on 8-9 March and 21-22 June 2007.
There will also be two meetings with the non-EU states Japan and Canada in the context of the G8 Summit being held from 8-10 June 2007. Further third country meetings are planned with Russia, Japan and the USA.
These will be accompanied by 14 informal meetings on individual policy areas involving the relevant ministers of the Member States and representatives of the candidate countries Turkey and Croatia.
What are third country meetings?
Third country meetings bring together high-level representatives of the European Union and those from countries outside the EU. The German Presidency will see third country meetings with the USA, Russia, Japan and Canada.
What is the Gymnich meeting, and where does the word come from?
Gymnich is a nickname for informal meetings of EU Foreign Ministers. It is the name of a German castle north of Bonn where the first informal meeting of Foreign Ministers was held in 1974.
Is there a cultural programme during the Presidency?
Yes. Culture brings people together and gives concrete form to abstract ideas. Cultural events in Brussels, Germany and other EU Member States will highlight Germany's contribution to Europe and promote the European vision in the Presidency country itself. Many of the projects in the cultural programme support cooperation between artists from different European countries and illustrate the diversity of cultural life in Europe. The programme encompasses concerts, exhibitions, theatre and dance performances, film evenings, readings and club nights. Highlights include a large-scale light sculpture in Brussels and an eighteenth-month music project with the countries next in line to take on the Presidency, Portugal and Slovenia.
How do I subscribe to RSS feeds, news alerts or the newsletter?
You can subscribe to RSS feeds, news alerts or the newsletter on this website, in the section "media service".
What is an RSS feed?
RSS stands for "Really Simple Syndication". The technology allows users to subscribe to all or part of a website's content. Having subscribed to the service, users receive automatic notification on their laptops (or mobile phones, PDAs or other mobile devices) whenever new content (e.g. press releases, news bulletins) appears on the website. Subscribers thus have convenient and automatic access to the latest information. The RSS feed can take place via an internet browser, an e-mail programme or a feed reader.
Can I subscribe to a newsletter on the Presidency website?
Yes. In the section "media service" under the menu option "newsletter" you can subscribe to receive regular updates in three languages (German, English, French). Two different services are offered:
News alerts inform you swiftly of new press releases or statements on the Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP). You may subscribe to receive news alerts on all of the policy areas in which you are interested.
You may also subscribe to the newsletter. This is sent at around 10 p.m. every working day and provides a round-up of all the most important bulletins of the day in one document.
Both news alerts and the newsletter are sent by e-mail in text form. To register, click here .
What is a podcast?
The term "Podcasting" is formed from the words iPod and broadcasting, and refers to media data produced and formatted to be accessed via the internet. A "podcast" is therefore a series of programmes (episodes) offered on a website, usually in audio or visual form. In subscribing to a podcast, users agree to receive these programmes automatically on their computers or mobile devices. This is therefore different from a usual download process, where users are required to actively check whether new programmes are available.