Apart from having to steer the Treaty of Lisbon through the ratification process, the Slovenian EU Presidency will also launch preparations for the implementation of some of the treaty's new provisions.

"We are going to carry out a horizontal analysis of the reform process," explained Slovenia's Ambassador in Brussels, Igor Sen ar. "We will try to take into consideration the dozen or so items that will have to be implemented through specific instruments." The most striking example is the future European External Action Service, which will have the task of assisting the Union's high representative for foreign affairs and security policy. The operations, structure and organisation of this service remain to be determined.

Will the new stable European Council president be assisted by a cabinet? How will the agenda of the General Affairs and External Relations Council, chaired by the high representative for foreign policy, be coordinated with the other Council formations, chaired by the ministers of the country holding the six-month Presidency? When these institutional innovations were conceived, mostly at the Convention, the details of implementation were left for later.

Defining the working method

The legal bases will have to be determined, however. That could well mean long political debates between member states and between institutions, particularly for determining the balance of powers among members of the future troika that will head the Union from 2009: the Commission president, the...

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