World » Europe
Author`s name Timothy Bancroft-Hinchey

Portugal: First day of the EU Presidency

Portugal: First day of the EU Presidency

First objective is to form strategic partnership with Brazil; in Oporto, Portuguese Government and Commission Europeia planned initiatives to be developed

Today was the first day of the Portuguese Presidency of the Union Europeia (July to December of 2007) after the opening cerimony on Sunday. A priority for Portugal is the choice of Brazil as a strategic partner of the European Union (together with Canada, RP China, India, Japan, Russian Federation, South Africa and USA).

This Strategic Partnership will be signed on the Wednesday, in the Atlantic Pavilion in Lisbon, when Portugal will sponsor Brazil’s entry into this restricted group of partners. President Lula da Silva of Brazil will conduct the negotiations with the President of the European Commission, Jose Barroso.

In the strategic partnership, there will be political and economic vectors, which can later galvanize the relations between the EU and the South American Common Market (MERCOSUL), bringing the two blocks closer together. On the negotiating table there will almost certainly be the question of the Doha Round of talks at the WTO, after Brazil and India walked out of the negotiations with the EU and USA on 21st June, due to the insistence of the latter in maintaining subsidies to farmers, constituting an unjust commercial practice, therefore controlling the capacity of fair competition in favor of the more developed countries.

The priorities for Portugal in this, its third Presidency, favour the narrowing of relations with Latin Americ and Africa, and the European Treaty, in limbo since a vote against in referenda in France and Holland. Regarding the Middle East, Manuel Lobo Antunes, Secretary of State for European Matters, referred to the need of follow the developments closely, highlighting the importance of the Quartet and of maintaining a constructive attitude about the events in the Afghanistan, Iran and Iraq.

The Secretary of State reiterated the endeavor of Portugal of carry out the Summit EU – Africa in December and referred that Portugal supports the candidacy of Turkey to the EU when it has fulfilled all of the criteria.