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Europe in 2007

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What is in store for new year's Europe? We look at the upcoming leaders, movers and shakers who will transform the face of the EU in 2007

Jan­u­ary 2007: New faces in the Eu­ro­pean Union

Slove­nia joins the Euro zone

The Alpine state be­comes the first 'new mem­ber state' to join Eu­rope's sin­gle cur­rency, from the bloc of coun­tries that joined the EU in May 2004. 250 To­lars sud­denly be­comes one Euro - Slove­ni­ans have wel­comed the news warmly.

Bul­garia and Ro­ma­nia 2007 - 'young' EU debu­tantes

After seven years of fer­vent ne­go­ti­a­tions, two more post com­mu­nist coun­tries have been given the green light to join the EU fam­ily. Given their eco­nomic sit­u­a­tion - cur­rently plagued with cor­rup­tion and or­gan­ised crime amongst oth­ers - the union has im­posed harsh con­di­tions to as­sure that both Balkan coun­tries will ef­fec­tively fight afore­said scourges. Hope­fully, in the fu­ture we will have to pass just one fron­tier going to Ro­ma­nia - the of­fi­cial one.

Feb­ru­ary 2007 - Rus­sia cruises to Eu­ro­pean gas mar­ket dom­i­na­tion

Launched in 2005, the in­fa­mous Gazprom's Baltic pipeline pro­ject is sched­uled to reap its first ben­e­fits in early 2007. It will link Vy­borg and Greif­swald along a mam­moth length of 1200 km. The pro­ject it­self has sparked tu­mul­tuous dis­cus­sion, rag­ing most fu­ri­ously in Poland and Ukraine. The two na­tions can­not avoid hav­ing been by­passed; the trans­port route sim­ply does not tra­verse their ter­ri­to­ries.

March 2007: EU/EC blows fifty can­dles out

If there was a Eu­ro­pean God, then he cre­ated the 'EEC' on 25th March 1957. The 'leg­endary six' (France, Ger­many, Italy, Bel­gium, Nether­lands and Lux­em­bourg) signed the Treaty of Rome and the 'Eu­ro­pean Eco­nomic Com­mu­nity'was born. Though many pe­ri­ods of its Abra­hamian life were marked with painful draw­backs, the com­mu­ni­ties have al­ways been able to shrug off and stub­bornly cut their way for­ward as a team. Al­though the EU called off all the bom­bas­tic events orig­i­nally con­ceived to mark this an­niver­sary, we all should lift our gob­lets and give a toast: a long life!

April 2007: Royal! v. Sarkozy?

It seemed crys­tal clear for months that Nico­las Sarkozy would run for French pres­i­dency in April 2007. How do mat­ters ap­pear now? Sarkozy can­not even be sure which fe­male op­po­nent to shield him­self, and at which mo­ment to dodge the line of fire. Michele Al­liot-Marie has fiercely con­tested his can­di­da­ture within 'his own' party, whilst Sego­lene Royal has won So­cial­ist hearts (and Eu­ro­pean mag­a­zine cov­ers) in the joust for le Palais de l'Élysée.

May 2007: Bye bye Tony

After al­most ten years in power, the great­est new Labourer has fallen from pub­lic grace, and is set (or forced, as Cameron would say), to re­sign from his tenure. Gor­don Brown, his com­man­der-in-sec­ond, is sketched in to take over. Will Tony re­tire from pol­i­tics, or should the Union fear an­other pres­i­den­tial pre­tender (in case it ever needs one)?

June 2007: 27 chief­tains, one con­sti­tu­tion

Is the EU con­sti­tu­tion a 'let­tre morte', or is re­sus­ci­ta­tion at the very last mo­ment still con­ceiv­able? Will the EU lead­ers put on their sur­geons gowns or rather snatch at their un­der­taker's shov­els? This should be the prin­ci­pal issue of the '27'´s Brus­sels sum­mit in the twi­light of the Ger­man pres­i­dency.

July 2007: Por­tu­gal take the baton

José Sócrates will be the sov­er­eign over the EU for six months. Will the baton be­come a rather green scep­tre in his bright hands? Ex­pec­ta­tion is

rife that he puts an end to his coun­try's dai­mo­nion in en­vi­ron­ment ser­vices and starts a new era of pol­lu­tion shop­ping.

Au­gust 2007: EU hu­man­i­tar­ian work­ers head home

The United Na­tions As­sis­tance Mis­sion for Iraq (UNAMI), with EU hu­man­i­tar­ian work­ers on board, is sched­uled to leave the coun­try upon the ex­piry of its man­date. Through fac­ing the wind of Iraqi tribal wars, and the ever-in­creas­ing state

of sec­tar­ian vi­o­lence, these brave men and women of Eu­rope have valiantly taken up the spirit of top envoy Sérgio Vieira de Mello 's legacy. Will you dare to take the same step, Mr. B.?

Sep­tem­ber 2007: UN Pop­u­la­tion Fund stands up to count

US fig­ures are at 300 mil­lion - with Ro­ma­nia and Bul­garia in tow, will the EU set its record at 500 mil­lion? The re­port should pro­vide some clues. It is also ex­pected to tackle the hot Eu­ro­pean issue of im­mi­gra­tion, re­call­ing

big names such as Melilla or Lampe­dusa.

Oc­to­ber 2007: Schen­gen-ised Czech Re­pub­lic

The 2004 new­com­ers will fi­nally be able to enter the heart of the EU by the front door, with­out being com­pelled to sneak in through the back gate.

No­vem­ber 2007: Turkey gen­eral elec­tions - po­ten­tial turn to rad­i­cal­ism?

Turkey has been con­sis­tent in knock­ing on heaven's door' since 1963. Its ef­forts reached their cli­max in 2004. Nev­er­the­less, since then on, the EU has been forced to freeze one ne­go­ti­a­tion chap­ter after the other. These elec­tions will help de­cide whether the Union will ever wel­come the 'sweet­est' coun­try on the con­ti­nent - its sweet­ness of course judged on the grounds of its cof­fee.

De­cem­ber 2007: Slove­nia goes from eu­ro­zone to eu­roking

It's to be a spe­cial year for Slove­nia; they started off our agenda by mak­ing his­tory in join­ing the EU cur­rency club. We leave 2007's agenda by imag­in­ing how the first ex-com­mu­nist state will run the EU in a year's time. With a firm or­gan­i­sa­tional stance on how they will de­velop the union, and other politic en­large­ment am­bi­tions, it will be in­ter­est­ing to see what kind of EU they hand over to France six months later.