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Press Release
Jean-Claude Juncker presents the programme of the Luxembourg Presidency before the European Parliament

Date of release : 12-01-2005

Policy area : General Affairs and External Relations

Event : European Parliament plenary session

On 12 January 2005, the Prime Minister and current President of the European Council, Jean-Claude Juncker, presented the programme of the Luxembourg Presidency of the Council of the European Union before the European Parliament in Strasbourg.

In the presence of the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Immigration, the current President of the Council of the European Union, Jean Asselborn and the Minister delegate for Foreign Affairs and Immigration Nicolas Schmit, Jean-Claude Juncker began by reassuring members of the European Parliament that the Luxembourg Presidency would collaborate fully with the elected representatives of the peoples of Europe. "The Parliament is not a spectator, it is a prime player because it is legitimised by universal suffrage" said Mr. Juncker.

In terms of international relations, Mr. Juncker stressed the importance of a medium and long-term commitment to the regions of South Asia ravaged by the tsunami of 26 December 2004. The head of the Luxembourg government pointed out that this commitment should not be at the expense of other poor regions of the planet.  "Our hearts should be in those places where the cameras are no longer present, or have never even been," he pointed out to applause from the chamber.

Other international priorities outlined by Jean-Claude Juncker concerned the Western Balkans, the Near East, Russia, Ukraine, transatlantic relations with the USA and Canada and relations with Japan.

Jean-Claude Juncker emphasised in his speech just how important it was that substantial progress should be made in the field of "Justice and Home Affairs", where it was time to "think European before thinking national".  In this context, the Presidency intends to put the emphasis on rapid development of a European security culture, particularly in the context of the fight against serious and organized crime.  Other priorities in this field are operational cooperation between Member States, the battle against terrorism and asylum and immigration issues.

Concerning the mid-term review of the Lisbon strategy, Jean-Claude Juncker advocated an integrated approach whose purpose could not be competitiveness alone, but "greater social cohesion and a more harmoniously balanced environment".  To reach these objectives, the Presidency called for a rationalisation of the strategy – particularly in terms of the various processes – and for a national implementation via national action programmes involving not only governments but also parliaments and the social partners.

"The Luxembourg Presidency will not propose neutralising or exempting certain categories of expenditure in the application of the stability and growth pact," declared Jean-Claude Juncker.  On the other hand, the Presidency does intend to propose strengthening the preventive aspect of the pact, by compelling Member States to "allocate budget surpluses first to reducing deficits and debt" in periods when the economic climate is favourable, enabling Member States to have more budgetary room for manoeuvre in times when the economy is slowing down.

The current President of the European Council called on the European Parliament to push forward the decision-making on the financial perspectives.  "The absence of an agreement in June will not mean the Presidency has failed.  It will be Europe that has failed. So let us decide, decide quickly, and decide now," Jean-Claude Juncker concluded.

This page was last modified on : 13-01-2005

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