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European Council Summit Set To Discuss Key Challenges, Elect New President

A two-day summit of the heads of state or governments of the European Council Member-States will begin in Brussels on Thursday, with the focus on discussing key challenges facing the bloc.

The summit will kick start with a short meeting to elect a new President of the European Council for the period from June 1, 2012 to November 30, 2014. Eurogroup Chairman Jean-Claude Juncker will then propose to designate the President of the Euro Summit.

The working dinner will start with economic issues. This European Council will conclude the first phase of the "European semester," by providing guidance for Member- States' economic and budgetary policies.

"We have in the past agreed a strategy - Europe 2020 - and we have agreed on targets; the real challenge lies at the level of implementation, as outlined in President Barroso's letter on growth," European Council President Van Rompuy said in a statement on Wednesday.

"This meeting of the European Council must serve to identify the priorities Member-States should focus on at the national level," he added.

Leaders of the European Union will reassess the adequacy of resources under the European Financial Stability Facility (EFSF) and the European Financial Stabilization Mechanism (EFSM).

Juncker will then debrief on latest developments in the euro area. A recommendation by the General Council earlier this week for granting Serbia EU candidate status, and the issue of the enlargement of the Schengen area will be discussed over dinner.

On Friday, the Treaty on stability, coordination and governance in the Economic and Monetary Union (EMU) will be signed.

The summit will exchange of views on latest events in Syria and more globally the situation in the wider region one year after the start of the "Arab Spring." Rompuy will share his assessment of the recent summits the EU had with China and India.

The Council will also take stock of preparations for the forthcoming G8 summit, G20 summit and U.N. "Rio+20" Conference.

by RTTNews Staff Writer

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