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Poland heads the Council of the European Union - 04/07/2011

Logo: six vertical arrows pointing upward, Poland's flag, "PL2011.eu" © Government of Poland

Focus for the second half of 2011 is on economic growth, a more secure Europe, and closer relations with the EU's eastern and southern neighbours.

The country takes up the presidency during ongoing concerns about uneven economic recovery, Greece's debt crisis and political instability in northern Africa.

Economic growth

Poland's priorities over the next six months include further coordination among EU countries to boost economic recovery and generate jobs.

The country supports proposals for a single market act, which will make it easier to reside and do business across Europe. These include the development of cross-border digital services and online commerce.

Stable public finances are also important. Poland will monitor EU countries as they bring budgets into line with the targets they agreed to during the first half of this year.

During its presidency, EU countries begin negotiations on the 2014-2020 EU budget proposals . Poland calls for leaders to focus EU funds on promoting growth, such as investments in key infrastructure and skills training.

Also on the agenda are proposals to better regulate the financial markets, aiming to avoid another crisis.

Food, energy and security

Other priorities include work on common approaches to food and energy supplies, security and defence.

Ongoing reform of the common agricultural policy should focus on ensuring food security, promoting sustainable agriculture and developing rural areas.

Meanwhile, Poland will work on a common energy strategy strengthening the EU's ability to secure cheaper and more reliable supplies on the international markets.

It also wants further cooperation on security and defence policies, aiming at better coordination in areas such as border control and responding more effectively to crises and emergencies.

International approach

The presidency will also seek closer EU relations with eastern European countries - Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Moldova, Ukraine and Belarus. Poland hopes to advance talks on association agreements, removing trade barriers and visa liberalisation.

Poland supports EU expansion, in particular Croatia's final steps to becoming a member, and ongoing talks with Turkey and Iceland.

A common approach encouraging north African countries to make a transition to democracy is part of the programme.

Polish presidency of the Council of the EU

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