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The Portuguese presidency of the EU in 2000: An ambitious enterprise

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Following its EU presidency in 1992, Portugal served a second term in 2000. Originally designed as simply a transition to the more important French term in the second half of the year, it ended up producing the Lisbon strategy for the socio-economic development of the European Union. This article describes how seriously the Portuguese government took the presidency and how its ambition at the right moment helped to create the Lisbon strategy. The article also shows how the institutional structures of the presidency were upgraded and transformed in order to allow the presidency to run smoothly. The simplicity of the national EU coordination system was a further factor contributing to the smooth operation of the 2000 presidency. The article particularly emphasizes the institutionalization of the structures used to manage European Union affairs. The main argument of this article is that there is a learning process for countries that are in charge of the presidency. After the first presidency of 1992, Portugal learnt how to deal with the constraints but also opportunities that the rotating presidency offered and was able to be more ambitious by becoming the main architect of the Lisbon strategy and the attached open method of coordination (OMC). Both have become established innovations of the European integration process.
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Keywords: European Union; European Union presidency; Lisbon strategy; Portugal; foreign policy; small member states

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Berlin School of Economics and Law

Publication date: June 1, 2015

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  • The International Journal of Iberian Studies (IJIS) is the academic journal for scholars from around the world whose research focuses on contemporary Spain and Portugal from a range of disciplinary perspectives. IJIS is interested in history (20th century onwards), government and politics; foreign policy and international relations.
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