In September 2006 the Council of the European Union laid down the following in its amended Rules of Procedure: "Every 18 months, the three Presidencies due to hold office shall prepare, in close cooperation with the Commission, and after appropriate consultations, a draft programme of Council activities for that period." Germany together with Portugal and Slovenia, the following two holders of the Presidency, therefore submitted a joint programme for the coming 18 months drawn up in accordance with the Rules of Procedure to the General Affairs Council in December 2006.
The aim of this cooperation is to enhance the continuity of the Council's work and to make the initiatives dealt with in the Council more sustainable. The central issues of the trio programme are the continuation of the EU's reform and constitutional process, implementation of the Lisbon Strategy for Growth and Employment, as well as further progress towards the completion of the European area of freedom, security and justice. Not least, our aim is to step up cooperation in the sphere of the European Union's joint action on foreign policy.
As well as drafting the trio programme, the trio partners have also agreed to work closer together during the coming 18 months in order to foster the implementation of the joint aims and projects named. This applies in particular to issues which will be treated as priorities by all three Presidencies. In addition, Germany, Portugal and Slovenia have taken this opportunity to also enhance their political cooperation through joint cultural projects, joint further-training programmes and personnel exchanges.