Dear website visitor,
Welcome to the website of Germany's EU Council Presidency 2007.
The idea of European unification will mark its half century this year. There are good reasons to celebrate this special anniversary: peace, freedom, justice and democracy are things we now take for granted.
On the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the Treaties of Rome I have invited my European colleagues to Berlin for an informal summit on 24 and 25 March. We will be celebrating the day the European Community's founding treaties were signed with a special ceremony as well as a street festival.
In a Berlin Declaration we will make clear that Europe's success story is founded on a shared understanding of European values. That is the source of Europe's strength. All of us must work together to ensure this guides our policies. That is why the motto we have chosen for our Council Presidency is: "Europe – succeeding together".
Of course we will be looking ahead, to the future as well. If Europe is to remain able to act, it needs a constitutional treaty. Here we are keen to make a contribution and will be consulting closely with our European partners in this connection. By the end of our Presidency we hope to have a road map showing how a constitutional treaty can become reality across Europe.
For the first time Germany is working with Portugal and Slovenia, the two subsequent Presidencies, as a so-called "team Presidency". Over the next eighteen months this will ensure the high degree of continuity that is essential if the challenges ahead are to be successfully tackled.
Europe can remain strong only if people feel they have a real future. Many ask themselves what benefits Europe brings them personally in terms of security and prosperity, they wonder if there is simply too much bureaucracy. We will do our best to answer your questions. Not just here on this website and at the street festival on 25 March, but also with the travelling roadshow I will be sending on its way at the same time. It is due to visit 52 German cities and is intended to help you find out more about what you want to know closer to home.
I for my part am greatly looking forward to our Council Presidency. And I invite you to be a part of this whole venture by learning more about it and sharing your views with us!
This year Germany is assuming the Presidency of the European Council for the twelfth time. The German Presidency is marked not only by the high expectations vested in the EU, but also by a milestone which gives us an opportunity to look back with pride on the past half century. On 25 March 2007, Europe will celebrate the 50th anniversary of the signing of the Treaties of Rome, which laid the foundation for the European Economic Community and later the European Union.
Looking back over these past decades shows us that the EU is a success story. After the suffering of the past, we are experiencing in Europe the most peaceful period in our long history. Without the EU, the peace, prosperity and stability we enjoy today would be unimaginable. The internal market, based on uniform and reliable rules, with 500 million consumers, and a common currency area for over 300 million people, unite its citizens in a community not only of shared prosperity but also of shared values. With the accession of Romania and Bulgaria, whom we warmly welcome to the EU, and the introduction of the euro in Slovenia, the European project continues to stride forth.
But the EU is also facing new tasks. The challenges we must address today are economic, social and ecological modernization in the age of globalization, the safeguarding of resources, the fight against terrorism and international organized crime, and commitment to a peaceful and democratic future. We Europeans can only do this together, and for that very reason our Presidency's motto is "Europe – succeeding together".
We must further advance the European project and make it clear to the citizens that the EU is their long-term guarantee of prosperity, security and social justice. For me, it is especially important to put the European constitutional process back on track. We want to give our cooperation with neighbouring countries and regions new impetus, to intensify that cooperation and make it fit for the future. This also includes increasing our joint efforts in the field of energy use and security.
The logo of the German Presidency also reminds you of our website – www.eu2007.de – which we have designed for you as a "news agency". During our Presidency of the EU, the website will provide you with fast, detailed and reliable information on the goals, focus, events, background and results of the German EU Presidency.
Federal Minister for Foreign Affairs