The Austrian EU presidency and the future of the constitutional treaty
Austrians heaved a sigh of relief when the UK presidency brokered a last-minute deal on the EU budget in December 2005. The Austrian government hoped that the agreement would free its hands to focus on more rewarding issues during its presidency. However, the European Parliament has rejected the December deal so Austria will have to find a new compromise. Other pressing issues that will preoccupy the presidency are Iran's nuclear ambitions, energy security, bird flu and Belarus.