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Spanish EU Presidency - Foreign ministers prepare for "Europe 2020" summit

The General Affairs Council (GAC) meeting on 10 May will focus on preparing for the leaders' summit to be held in June, which will bring the six months of the Spanish Presidency to an end. The intention is to approve the European strategy for jobs and economic growth over the next decade (Europe 2020) at this event.

The meeting will start at 3.30pm, with Spain's Minister of Foreign Affairs, Miguel Ángel Moratinos, scheduled to hold a press conference at 6.30pm.

The ministers, chaired by Moratinos, will also discuss the G-20 economic meeting in Toronto, which will also be taking place next month, as well as the UN's Millennium Development Goals and issues related to climate change.

Two of the goals of the Europe 2020 Strategy are to increase the employment rate of people aged between 20 and 64 to at least 75%, from the current figure of 69%, and to increase levels of investment in technological research and development from 1.9% of the GDP of the EU to 3%.

Another aim is to reduce school dropout rates to 10% and increase the number of young people who have completed higher education to at least 40% from the current level of 31%. It also wants to help 20 million Europeans at risk of poverty; a situation that currently affects 80 million people in the EU.

As usual, the External Relations Council (ERC) will be held before the GAC, with this meeting being chaired by the High Representative of the Union, Catherine Ashton.

This meeting will begin at 10am and there will be a press conference at 3pm.

Issues on the agenda for the ERC include piracy in Somalia, nuclear non-proliferation, problems with Iran and the EU's relations with its strategic partners.

The Council will include a section focusing on development, during which ministers will exchange their viewpoints on gender equality in development cooperation, as well as discussing development policies in the context of the future European External Action Service.

An EU-Turkey Association Council will also be held within the framework of these meetings. It will be chaired by Moratinos, with a press conference at 7.30pm. The following day, 11 May, the Spanish Secretary of State for the European Union, Diego López Garrido, will chair an Association Council with Tunisia and a Stabilisation and Association Council with Albania. A political dialogue meeting with South Africa will also take place on the same day.

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