A monumental pile of unfinished business faces the Portuguese government as it takes over the presidency of the EU. For the food and agriculture sector, the most important item is the relaunch of the new trade talks in the World Trade Organisation which foundered so abysmally at Seattle in November. Portuguese foreign minister Jaime Gama is confident it will be possible to get the WTO round moving again ­ and not merely on the limited agriculture and services agenda to which the signatories are already bound by the 1994 Uruguay Round. But independent analysts believe that there will be considerable difficulty in getting a full scale negotiation running again ­ principally because of overt lack of enthusiasm of the US and the covert disinterest among most EU states. The new presidency is determined to streamline the operation of the EU's institutions so they will be able to deal with a union of 22 or even 30 or more countries in the not very distant future. Among current members there have been unacceptable demands from Poland and other first wave' countries for farm deals which would threaten the EU budget. The current running row between member states over new tax laws, particularly on the savings tax issue, is likely to come to a head during the next six months. {{PROVISIONS }}