"Gordon Brown will hold talks with European Union President Herman van Rompuy in Downing Street for the first time since the Belgian's controversial appointment last year...
He and the Prime Minister are expected to discuss jobs and growth, the declared priorities of Spanish President Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero, who has recently taken up the revolving EU presidency.
"The Prime Minister is very keen that the ideas he wants to be on the agenda are pushed forward," Mr Brown's spokesman said." Link
"Spain signals ambitious EU presidency
MADRID — Spain has quickly shown it intends to play a driving role in the EU during its six-month presidency -- at the risk of being snubbed, as happened this week over a bold economic proposal.
Before it assumed the presidency on January 1, Madrid had stressed its willingness to bow to the authority of the new permanent president of the EU, Herman Van Rompuy, and his foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton, amid confusion over the leadership roles under the new Lisbon reform treaty. But declarations since then by Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero and his foreign minister, Miguel Angel Moratinos, have suggested the reverse.
...Zapatero may have pulled the rug out from under the feet of Van Rompuy, who had called a summit of EU leaders for February 11 in Brussels to discuss ways to revive growth.
"There is a political fight for primacy" between Van Rompuy and the rotating presidency, said Brady.
"On the one hand you have one guy, without a big staff, without executive power (Van Rompuy) and on the other side you have a prime minister of a country who will not give power away."
Madrid is also walking a tightrope on the diplomatic front.
On Monday, Moratinos was taking positions on various issues at a news conference, while the more discreet Ashton won tepid support at a confirmation hearing in the European Parliament..."