Brüssel, 14. December 2007 Press release

Plassnik on Portuguese EU Presidency: "Successful Presidency of a medium-sized state for Europe"

14.12.2007

Foreign Minister praises Portuguese EU Presidency

Brussels, 14 December 2007 - "Portugal’s successful EU Presidency has once again shown that small and medium-sized states - SMS - in particular are successful navigators and providers of impulses and ideas in the European Union", stressed Foreign Minister Ursula Plassnik on the occasion of the last EU Summit under Portuguese presidency.

"With a sense of proportion and great negotiating skills, the Portuguese Presidency has precisely implemented the ambitious mandate for the EU Reform Treaty, and has brought the efforts to a positive conclusion", said Plassnik. Therefore, the fact that the Treaty was signed in Lisbon yesterday is also a deserved acknowledgment for a successful presidency.

"The timely conclusion of the Reform Treaty means that we can hold to the schedule we first outlined together during the Austrian Presidency in 2006: that is, to have a new contractual basis for the Union in force in time before the European Elections in 2009", said Plassnik with confidence.

In addition, Plassnik acknowledged the fact that the Portuguese Presidency has further tightened the already dense network of European partnerships in the world: this was achieved in particular through a series of summit meetings with the EU’s strategic partners - including the first EU-Brazil summit ever - and last week's important EU-Africa summit.

The Portuguese Presidency has also supported the SME dimension of the European economy. "It is good to see that this particular focus of the Austrian EU Presidency in 2006 in favour of a strong European small and medium-size industry is continued with such commitment", said Plassnik.

"The Presidency has acted with great caution and inclusiveness on the Kosovo issue. This allows for maximum unity in the preparation for this significant test for European foreign policy", said Plassnik, adding that "the Portuguese Presidency is leaving behind a well-kept house for the coming first EU Presidency from the ‘class of 2004’, for our neighbour Slovenia. I am certain that Slovenia, headed by Foreign Minister Dimitrij Rupel and Prime Minister Janez Jansa, will demonstrate the necessary sensitivity and persistence, especially with regard to the Kosovo question."

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