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Belgium takes the baton from Spain's presidency of the European Union on Thursday, which the nation will celebrate over the weekend. Brussels unfurls a 300-metre-long European flag to celebrate the start of the rotating Belgian presidency of the EU.
There will also be concerts and fireworks. Madrid, with six months at the helm was largely taken up with managing the fallout from Greece's debt crisis and the effect on the euro. Belgium's term will focus on financial regulation and economic coordination.
But currently Belgium is operating with a caretaker government following inconclusive elections. A new government may not take office for months. The domestic uncertainty is not expected to affect its EU presidency, but it could complicate the planning of economic and financial meetings as Belgium's stand-in finance minister may not be appointed to the next government.