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From 1 July 2010, Belgium takes over the rotating six month Presidency of the European Union from Spain.

As the Presidency of the Council of the European Union, Belgium will be organising and chairing all the meetings of the Council except for the Foreign Affairs Council which is chaired by the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Ms Catherine Ashton.

In order to facilitate a certain degree of continuity in the work of the EU, Belgium set up a common work programme with the previous Presidency (Spain) and the following Presidency (Hungary), in accordance with the legislative provisions of the EU Treaties. Among the main objectives of this programme are: a review of the Lisbon Strategy with the aim of better  preparation for overcoming the current challenges such economic crisis and unemployment; better monitoring of the financial markets; broadening of the social agenda and focusing it on young people, combating gender discrimination and fighting poverty;  setting up a global European policy for immigration and asylum; setting up a more consistent and effective external EU representation; and placing an emphasis on the defence of human rights and fundamental freedoms.

In the framework of this eighteen-month common work programme, Belgium is intending to pursue its own priorities such as making the European project tangible and more accessible to its citizens. In order to pursue this aim, the Presidency has already organised a series of meetings with citizens and civil society as well as setting up an interactive official Presidency website

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