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[Figures and graphics available in PDF and WORD PROCESSED
COMMISSION DES COMMUNAUTÉS EUROPÉENNES
EUROPEAN COUNCIL BRUSSELS
15 & 16 December 2005
The European Council invites the Commission to report back on progress made
by the end of 2006.
GLOBAL APPROACH TO MIGRATION:
PRIORITY ACTIONS FOCUSING ON AFRICA AND THE MEDITERRANEAN
The European Council welcomes the Commission's Communication of 30 November 2005, Priority actions for responding to the challenges of migration: first follow-up to Hampton Court.
The European Council, against the background of the EU's Strategy for Africa and the Strategy for the external dimension of Justice and Home Affairs, as well as recent events in the Mediterranean region, agrees to initiate priority actions with a focus on Africa and the Mediterranean countries.
The European Council agrees on the urgent need in the short term for broad-ranging concrete actions, which form part of ongoing work to ensure that migration works to the benefit of all countries concerned. Action must be taken to reduce illegal migration flows and the loss of lives, ensure safe return of illegal migrants, strengthen durable solutions for refugees, and build capacity to better manage migration, including through maximising the benefits to all partners of legal migration, while fully respecting human rights and the individual's right to seek asylum. The immediate actions set out below form part of a broader agenda for developing the EU's relationship with Africa and the Mediterranean countries through genuine partnership. The European Council also welcomes the complementary dialogue and cooperation being pursued by Member States in this area.
The European Council further underlines the necessity of an integrated and global approach for some of the proposed priority actions, such as the initiatives on the migratory routes and safety at sea, which concern both the Mediterranean and certain African countries.
The European Council, in the light of the Commission Communication, endorses the following actions and invites the Council and Member States to work closely with the Commission to implement these actions during the course of 2006.
Increasing operational cooperation between Member States
o implement border management measures in the Mediterranean region, in particular joint operations and pilot projects, as early as possible in 2006;
o present a Risk Analysis report on Africa, building on recent studies, by May 2006;
o launch a feasibility study on reinforcing monitoring and
surveillance of the southern maritime border of the EU, namely in the
Mediterranean Sea, and on a Mediterranean Coastal Patrols Network involving EU
Member States and North African countries, as early as possible in 2006.
Dialogue and cooperation with Africa
Work with neighbouring countries
o Morocco – implement projects to combat trafficking and
conclude negotiations of the EC-Morocco readmission agreement as early as
o Algeria – hold a first meeting in early 2006 to take forward
cooperation on the basis of the migration provisions of the EC-Algeria
Association Agreement and begin the negotiation of the readmission agreement as
quickly as possible on the basis of the mandate given to the Commission;
o Libya – conclude the work to agree the EU-Libya Action Plan
on migration as early as possible in 2006, in accordance with the Council
Conclusions of 3 June 2005 on initiating dialogue and cooperation with
Libya on migration issues, and implement projects as soon as possible
The European Council welcomes the increased priority being given to migration and the Commission's intention to intensify its financial assistance in areas concerning or related to migration in respect of its relations with third countries, including by an allocation of up to 3% of the ENPI, and comparable efforts in respect of other relevant financial instruments. Equivalent efforts will in particular be considered in Sub-Saharan Africa, with a view to tackling the root causes of migration.
The European Council also underlines the importance of ensuring that appropriate priority is given within AENEAS to Africa and the Mediterranean to actions to be financed in 2006, including actions promoting synergies between migration and development. Adequate resources for the thematic programme for cooperation with third countries in the areas of migration and asylum under the future financial perspectives should also be ensured with a sufficiently flexible means of disbursing funding quickly in cases of serious and urgent need.
Implementation and reporting
The European Council underlines the importance of swift implementation of the priority measures identified and calls on the Commission to organise coordination meetings between Member States, FRONTEX, UNHCR and other relevant organisations as necessary.
The European Council invites the Commission to report back on progress made by the end of 2006.
Reducing burdens on business and citizens through simplification and screening
The European Council reaffirms the importance of reducing unnecessary burdens for business and citizens. In this respect it welcomes the Commission's new programme for simplifying EU legislation , and calls on the Council and the European Parliament to give high priority to progressing simplification proposals through the legislative system. It welcomes the Commission's screening initiative, notes the outcome and invites the Commission to continue to monitor pending proposals in terms of their impacts, including economic, social and environmental, with a view to modification, replacement or withdrawal, where these would be appropriate.
Revised impact assessment system
The European Council welcomes the Commission's revised impact assessment system , including the commitment to prepare integrated impact assessments for all major legislative proposals and policy defining documents in its work programme. These assessments should include exploring a range of options, drawing on sectoral analyses where available, which could potentially meet the set objectives of a proposal, including non-legislative options and further harmonisation, as appropriate. It calls on the Council and the European Parliament to make full use of Commission impact assessments as a tool to inform political decision making and to implement the inter institutional common approach to impact assessment. It reaffirms the importance of transparency in policy making and timely and effective stakeholder consultation and looks forward to the comprehensive independent evaluation of the Commission's impact assessment system to be launched early in 2006.
EU common methodology for assessing administrative costs imposed by legislation
The European Council welcomes the Commission Communication on an EU common methodology for assessing administrative costs imposed by legislation , and invites the Commission to start measuring administrative burdens, on a consistent basis and in line with transparent criteria, as part of integrated impact assessments launched as of January 2006. In this context it stresses the important contribution this methodology could play in identifying legislation in need of simplification and invites the Commission to explore options for establishing measurable targets in specific sectors for reducing administrative burdens. The European Council recognises the importance for Member States to provide, on request and in a proportionate manner, the information needed to assess administrative costs imposed by EU legislation.
DECLARATION OF THE EUROPEAN COUNCIL
1. The European Council renews its commitment to a secure, prosperous and
peaceful Middle East and Mediterranean, based on respect for the rule of law,
democracy and human rights.
2. The European Council recognises the challenges that the countries of the
Middle East and Mediterranean face. It urges all its partners to settle their
disputes peacefully, renounce the threat or use of force, end incitement and
promote regional security. It urges them to adhere to and comply with
international non-proliferation, arms control and disarmament agreements, and to
pursue a Middle East zone free of weapons of mass destruction and their means of
delivery. It urges them to tackle terrorism and terror-networks. The EU is
committed to working with all countries to deal with these
3. The European Council condemns unreservedly President Ahmadinejad's call for the eradication of Israel and his denial of the Holocaust. These comments are wholly unacceptable and have no place in civilised political debate. The European Council recalls that in November this year the UN General Assembly adopted by consensus, including Iran, a resolution which "rejects any denial of the Holocaust as an historical event either in full or in part" urging all Member States to educate their population about the Holocaust. The European Council reaffirms the right of the State of Israel to exist within secure and recognised borders. The European Council recalls that all Members of the United Nations have undertaken to refrain from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any State. The EU calls on the Iranian leadership to join the international consensus on the need for a two-state solution to the Palestinian-Israel conflict, to support the search for peace between Israel and its neighbours and to end support for groups which advocate or engage in acts of terrorism.
4. The European Council is gravely concerned at Iran's failure to build
confidence that its nuclear programme is exclusively peaceful. Iran's
resumption of activity at the Uranium Conversion Facility in Esfahan, its
continuing lack of transparency and its refusal to take the steps required of it
in successive IAEA Board Resolutions only add to the EU's profound concerns
about Iran's intentions. While the EU continues to work for a diplomatic
solution, the window of opportunity will not remain open indefinitely and the
European Council urges Iran to respond constructively, including by implementing
all the confidence-building measures the IAEA Board has sought and refraining
from any further unilateral move which might aggravate the situation.
5. The European Council underlines that whether the EU's long-term
relationship with Iran improves or deteriorates will depend on progress on all
issues of concern. Given provocative political moves by Iran since May, the
Council agrees on the need to keep the EU's diplomatic options under close
review and continue to calibrate the EU's approach in light of Iranian
declarations and actions. The European Council reiterates its deep concern
about the lack of respect for human rights and fundamental political freedoms in
Iran, and calls on Iran to demonstrate respect for these principles by taking
concrete steps, including permanently releasing Akbar Ganji and other prisoners
of conscience. In the spirit of EU solidarity, it calls on Iran to lift all
discriminatory restrictions against individual Member
6. The European Council reaffirms the EU's continued support for Iraq's
political transition in line with UNSCRs 1546 and 1637 and its commitment to
assist the Iraqi people in building a secure, stable, unified and prosperous
Iraq. It warmly welcomes the 15 December elections as a further step towards
democracy and stability in Iraq, and encourages the swift formation of a new
government thereafter. The European Council recognises that divisions remain
within Iraq. It calls on all parties in Iraq to commit themselves to
exclusively peaceful activities, and to work actively towards reconciliation.
It condemns utterly the terrorist atrocities. The European Union stands ready
to support the Iraqi people in broadening further the consensus on the future of
their country, including through the review of the Constitution, and continuing
to build up a new and inclusive post-Saddam political system. The European
Council welcomes the meeting on Iraq organised by the Arab League on 19-21
November and supports the convening of a conference on national accord in early
2006. The European Council strongly urges regional states, in particular Syria
and Iran, to support the political process in Iraq and to develop good
neighbourly relations, including by co-operating with Iraq to prevent
cross-border transit and support for terrorists.
7. The European Council reiterates its commitment to supporting Iraq's
reconstruction, including through the EU's Rule of Law mission. The European
Council expresses its concern about recent reports of human rights violations in
Iraq, and urges the Iraqi authorities to address these urgently and
transparently. It underlines the EU's strong opposition to the use of the death
penalty. It remains committed to regular political dialogue with Iraq under the
Joint EU-Iraq Political Declaration. The EU hopes to broaden and enhance its
relationship further with Iraq once the constitutionally elected government is
set up, including through the establishment of contractual
8. The European Council reiterates its support for Lebanon's unity, stability
and independence, and reminds its neighbours of their obligations to respect
Lebanon's sovereignty. The European Council strongly condemns the assassination
of Gibran Tueni and the murder of companions travelling with him. This
assassination is the latest in a vicious campaign against Lebanese citizens,
journalists, political leaders and their right to freedom of expression. The
European Council also notes with extreme concern the conclusions of the second
report of the UN International Independent Investigation Commission (UNIIIC)
under Mr. Detlev Mehlis. It notes the confirmation of serious indications of
the involvement of Lebanese and Syrian security services in the assassination of
Rafiq Hariri, and expresses its concern at the incomplete co-operation provided
by the Syrian authorities to the Commission. It urges Syria to co-operate
unconditionally with UNIIC as they continue their efforts to bring to justice
those responsible for the assassination of Rafiq Hariri. It welcomes the
unanimous adoption of UNSCR 1644 of 15 December which extends the mandate of the
UNIIIC; authorises the UNIIIC to provide technical assistance to the Lebanese
Authorities in their investigations into other terrorist attacks perpetrated in
Lebanon since 1 October 2004; and acknowledges the Lebanese Government's request
that those charged with involvement in Rafiq Hariri's assassination should be
tried in a tribunal of an international character.
9. The European Council reaffirms its full support for the Government of
Lebanon and urges it to extend its authority throughout the country and to
tackle urgently economic and political reform as agreed at the Core Group
meeting held in New York last September. It welcomes the International
Conference to be held in early 2006. It reminds all concerned of their
obligation to implement UNSCR 1559 in its entirety, including the disbanding and
disarmament of all militias.
Middle East Peace Process
10. The European Council reaffirms its commitment to the full implementation
of the Quartet Roadmap. It welcomes the Israeli disengagement from Gaza and
parts of the West Bank as a significant step towards implementing the Roadmap.
The launch of the EU Border Assistance Mission to monitor the operation of the
Rafah crossing and EU assistance to reinforce Palestinian border management
capacities reflect the strong commitment of the EU to support the parties as
they work together for a lasting, negotiated settlement. It calls for swift
implementation of all aspects of the 15 November agreement on movement and
access. It commends the efforts of the Quartet Special Envoy and underlines the
importance of continued international engagement in the Peace Process.
11. The European Council emphasises that all Palestinian factions, including
Hamas, should renounce violence, recognise Israel's right to exist, and disarm.
Those who want to be part of the political process should not engage in armed
activities, as there is a fundamental contradiction between such activities and
the building of a democratic state. In this respect, the European Council
welcomes the Palestinian Authority's statements condemning violence and urging
groups who have engaged in terrorism to abandon this course and engage in the
democratic process. It urges the Palestinian Authority to take firm action
against those committing acts of violence or intimidation and assume full
control of security in the areas under its authority. The EU remains committed
to supporting Palestinian reforms and strengthening the Palestinian security
forces and civil policing capacity, including through the EU Civil Policing
Mission and working with the US Security Co-ordinator.
12. The European Council emphasises the importance of the elections for the
Palestinian Legislative Council foreseen for January 2006. It urges Israel to
co-operate fully with the Palestinian Authority on the preparation and conduct
of the elections, especially concerning freedom of movement for all candidates,
election workers and voters, in particular in East Jerusalem, and welcomes the
launch of the EU's Electoral Observation Mission.
13. The European Council urges the Israeli government to cease all activities
in the Palestinian Territories that are contrary to international law, including
settlement building, the demolition of Palestinian homes and the construction of
the separation barrier on occupied land. These threaten to make any solution
based on the co-existence of two viable states physically impossible. Israeli
activities in and around East Jerusalem cause particular concern, especially
with regard to reaching a final settlement agreement on
14. The European Council urges all states concerned to take immediate
practical measures to support regional stability. This includes supporting the
search for peace between Israel and its neighbours, the inclusive political
process within Iraq and the implementation of UNSCR 1559 and other relevant
Resolutions in Lebanon, and by ending support for groups which use violence, by
preventing their movement, organisation and arms supplies, and by influencing
them to abstain from terrorism.
Political, Social and Economic Reform
15. The European Council underlines its commitment to support political,
social and economic reform. It emphasises the importance it attaches to full
implementation of the EU's Strategic Partnership with the Mediterranean and
Middle East and its commitment to work with all countries of the region,
including the GCC countries, Yemen, Iran and Iraq.
16. The European Council recalls that the Barcelona Process, enhanced through the European Neighbourhood Policy, provides the central framework for relations with the Mediterranean countries. The European Council welcomes the progress on implementing the European Neighbourhood Policy Action Plans that have been concluded with Israel, Jordan, Morocco, the Palestinian Authority and Tunisia; notes the start of negotiations with Egypt and the preliminary consultations with Lebanon; and invites the Commission to draw up a national report on Algeria with a view to negotiating an action plan.
17. The European Council welcomes the 10th Anniversary Euromed
Summit in Barcelona on 27-28 November, which adopted a jointly agreed Five-Year
Work Programme and a Code of Conduct on Countering Terrorism. The Five-Year
Work Programme contains medium term targets in the field of political and
security partnership; sustainable economic growth and reform; education and
socio-cultural exchanges; and migration, social integration, justice and
security. It recommends that every Presidency, after consulting with the
Commission and Member States, present a report to the Council detailing their
plans to implement the Work Programme and invites the Commission to update the
Council periodically on its implementation. The Code of Conduct on Countering
Terrorism represents a significant advance in our political and security
co-operation with Mediterranean partners.
18. The European Council notes the progress in the development of the EU's relations with Libya, while urging a continued effort to resolve EU concerns and other outstanding bilateral issues. It recalls the EU's wish to see Libya become a full member of the Barcelona Process, in which Libya could play a valuable role. Participation in the Process, and subsequent progression towards the conclusion of an Association Agreement, would require Libya to accept the Declaration and Barcelona acquis in full.
 Doc. 13976/05
 Doc. 13629/05