EU Entities Start 2008 with New Presidencies

By Prensa Latina

Madrid : Europe starts its work in 2008 with new presidencies in its main institutions, and Malta and Chipre joining the Eurozone.

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As of this very first day of the year and for the next six months, the EU presidency is in the hands of Slovenia, replacing Portugal in the post.

The work of the Portuguese government at the helms of the continental organization was marked in its last month by the signing of the so-called Treaty of Lisbon, a reformed text which replaced the failed project of a European Constitution.

In this period a EU-Africa Summit was also held in Lisbon, approving a Strategic Partnership and an Action Plan in issues including security, governability, human rights, climate change and trade, among others.

Also on January 1st, Spain was replaced by Finland at the helm of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE).

The transfer takes place amid strong disagreements between the United States and its main European allies with Russia in several of main problems affecting the Old Continent.

These contradictions were behind of the lack of consensus which impeded a drafting of a final declaration in the OSCE Ministerial Council meeting held in Madrid in late November.

Another development in New Year Europe is the joining of the Euro monetary zone by Chipre and Malta, bringing to 15 the number of countries using the single currency.