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The European Council began  its proceedings by exchanging ideas with Mr Klaus
Hänsch,  President of  the  European Parliament,  on  the main  subjects  for
discussion at this meeting.

INTERGOVERNMENTAL CONFERENCE

An Agenda for the Intergovernmental Conference

The European  Council has defined in  Madrid the agenda of the  Union for the
end of  the century.  The convening of the Intergovernmental Conference which
will today  begin its examination  of the revision of  the Treaties  with the
purpose  of  creating  an ever  closer  union among  the  peoples  of Europe,
constitutes the first step in this direction.  We welcome it.
 
In a  Union firmly  committed  to the  full implementation  of the  Treaties,
including its provisions on economic and monetary  union, the Conference will
provide the  opportunity for dealing more  effectively with the internal  and
external challenges of the coming years. 

These  challenges stem  in particular  from :  changes   in the international
situation; globalization  of the economy and its consequences for employment,
competitiveness  and   job  creation  within   the  Union;   terrorism,  drug
trafficking   and  international   crime;   migratory  pressure;   ecological
imbalances.

Moreover,  future enlargement,  which represents  a  historic  mission and  a
great  opportunity for Europe, is  also a challenge for the  Union in all its
dimensions.     In   this  perspective,   institutions,  as   well  as  their
functioning, and  procedures have  to be  improved in order  to preserve  its
capacity  for  action,  while  maintaining  the  "acquis  communautaire"  and
developing it  and also respecting the balance  between the institutions.  It
is essential to sustain  the very nature of European  construction, which has
to preserve  and develop  its features of  democracy, efficiency, solidarity,
cohesion, transparency and subsidiarity. 

The Heads of State or Government consider that the  Conference should, in the
light  of  the Reflection  Group's  Report  and without  prejudice  to  other
questions which might be raised  during the Conference, mainly focus its work
on the areas described hereafter.

1.   A Union closer to its citizens 

The European  Council asks  the IGC to  base its  work on  the fact that  the
citizens are  at the core of  the European construction  : the Union has  the
imperative duty to respond concretely to their needs and concerns.

As Member  States are committed to  respect human rights, democratic  values,
equality and non discrimination,  and as the Union  is a community of  shared
values,  the IGC should consider whether  and how far it  will be possible to
strengthen these fundamental rights and improve the safeguarding of them.

European  citizens pay growing attention to justice and  home affairs.  In an
area  of free movement for  people, goods,  capital and services  such as the
Union, the exercise of  these rights according to the Treaty  provisions must
be  accompanied  by adequate  protection.    A strengthened  control  of  the
Union's  external frontiers  shall contribute  to it.  In  this context,  the
Conference  is  called upon  to  produce    adequate  results mainly  on  the
following issues :

-    within  the  framework  of   defined  objectives,  better  methods   and
     instruments;
-    ensuring   better   protection   of   the   Union's   citizens   against
     international crime, in particular,  terrorism and drug trafficking;
-    developing    coherent  and effective    asylum,  immigration  and  visa
     policies.
-    clearing divergent views  on jurisdictional and parliamentary control of
     EU decisions in the field of justice and home affairs.
 
For  the Union  and the Member  States the fight  against unemployment is the
priority task.   Promoting employment makes  national economic and structural
policies   a  matter  of  common   concern.     Obtaining  better  employment
opportunities  requires   a  stability  oriented   economic  policy,  greater
competitiveness and sound  growth, i.e. through the completion of  the single
market  and   the  implementation   of  the  convergence   criteria  for  the
achievement  of the  economic  and  monetary union.    However, supplementary
coordinated action is necessary.  Therefore in order  to fulfil the objective
of a high level  of employment while ensuring the  social protection, the IGC
should   examine  how  the  Union  could  provide  the  basis  for  a  better
cooperation and coordination  in order to strengthen national policies.   The
IGC should moreover  examine whether and how  the efforts of  our governments
as well  as of  the social partners could  be made more  effective and better
coordinated by the Treaty.

The  IGC  could  also  address the  question  of  the  compatibility  between
competition and the  principles of universal access to essential  services in
the citizen's interest.

Furthermore, the  IGC should  examine the  status of  outermost regions.   It
should  also examine the status of overseas territories. It should examine as
well the question of the island regions of the Union.

A  healthy and  sustainable  environment is  also  of  great concern  to  our
citizens. Ensuring  a better environment is  a fundamental challenge for  the
Union. The IGC will  have  to consider  how to make environmental  protection
more effective and  coherent at  the level  of the Union,  with a  view to  a
sustainable development. 

The IGC must ensure  a better application and  enforcing of the principle  of
subsidiarity, to provide  transparency and openness in the Union's  work, and
to  consider whether  it would  be possible  to simplify and  consolidate the
Treaties.

2.   The institutions in a more democratic and efficient Union

In order to improve  the European Union's institutions,  and also in view  of
preparing the  future enlargement,  the Heads of  State or Government  stress
the need  to look  for  the best  means  to ensure  that they  function  with
greater efficiency,  coherence and legitimacy.   The Conference will have  to
examine:

-    the  most  effective means  of  simplifying  legislative procedures  and
     making them clearer and more transparent ;
-    the   possibility  of  widening  the   scope  of   codecision  in  truly
     legislative matters;
-    the  question  of  the  role of  the  European  Parliament  besides  its
     legislative  powers,  as  well  as  its  composition  and   the  uniform
     procedure for its election.

The  IGC should equally examine  how and to  what extent national parliaments
could, also collectively, better contribute to the Union's tasks. 

As regards the  Council, whose functioning must  be improved, the IGC  should
address  the questions  of the  extent of  majority voting,  the weighting of
votes and the threshold for qualified majority decisions. 

The  Conference  will  have to  examine  how the  Commission  can  fulfil its
fundamental functions  with greater  efficiency, having  regard  also to  its
composition and taking into account its representativity.

The Conference  should  examine whether  and  how  to improve  the  role  and
functioning  of the  European Court  of Justice  and Court  of Auditors.   It
should  also  examine  how  to  achieve  greater  clearness  and  quality  of
legislation and ways and means of a more effective fight against fraud.

The Heads of State  or Government ask the  Conference to examine whether  and
how to  introduce rules either  of a general nature  or in  specific areas in
order to enable a  certain number of Member States  to develop a strengthened
cooperation,  open  to  all,   compatible  with  Union's  objectives,   while
preserving the  acquis communautaire, avoiding discrimination and distortions
of competition and respecting the single institutional framework.

3.   A strengthened capacity for external action of the Union

The international  situation increases the responsibilities  of the Union and
the need to strengthen  its identity on the international  scene with the aim
of  promoting peace  and  stability. The  Union's  political weight  must  be
commensurate with  its economic  strength. At the  same time the  consistency
and the unity of  all dimensions in the Union's  external action needs to  be
reinforced, while fully respecting the Commission's role.

The EU  has set itself  the objective  of implementing  a common foreign  and
security policy, including  the eventual framing of a common  defence policy,
which might in time lead to a common defence.

The accomplishment of this objective requires a greater capacity to :
-    identify the principles and the areas of common foreign policy;
-    define the  actions needed  to promote  the Union's  interests in  these
     areas and according to those principles;
-    set  up procedures  and structures  designed to  allow  decisions to  be
     taken in  a more effective and timely manner, in a spirit of loyalty and
     mutual solidarity;
-    agree on suitable budgetary provisions.

Having in mind those  aims, the Conference should also  study whether and how
the provision for a new  specific function could give the possibility to  the
Union of  expressing itself  in a more  visible and coherent  way and  with a
more perceptible face and voice. 

Moreover,  the IGC will  have to  examine how to  better assert  the European
identity  in  matters of  security and  defence.  It will  therefore  have to
address the question  of a  clearer definition of  the relationship with  the
Western European Union, which is  an integral part for the development of the
European  Union,  taking into  account  in  particular the  deadline  of  the
Brussels Treaty in 1998. The objective  shall also include the improvement of
the operational  capability available to the  Union, with  specific reference
to  the area covered  by the Western European  Union's Petersberg's tasks and
in conformity  with the  United Nations  Charter. The  Conference might  also
examine if and  to what extent a closer cooperation  in the area of armaments
should be promoted by the Treaty.

Finally, the European  Council invites the Conference, which  should finalize
its  work  in about  one  year,  to adopt  a  general  and consistent  vision
throughout its work  : its aim is to  meet the needs and  expectations of our
citizens, while advancing  the process of European construction and preparing
the Union for its future enlargement.

The  Heads  of State  or  Government  have confirmed  the  agreement  reached
between  the Ministers  of Foreign  Affairs on  26 March  1996  regarding the
association of the European Parliament with the work of the IGC (see below).

Association of the European Parliament with
the work of the Intergovernmental Conference

In view of the experience of the Reflection Group and in accordance  with the
conclusions of the Madrid  European Council on 15  and 16 December 1995,  the
European  Parliament  will  be  closely  associated  with  the  work  of  the
Conference  to enable  it to  have regular  and detailed  information  on the
progress of discussions  and to make  known its point of  view on  any matter
discussed whenever it feels this to be necessary.

To ensure  that association in compliance  with the provisions applicable  to
the revision of  the Treaties the Ministers  for Foreign Affairs  have agreed
on the following arrangements:

1. The  meetings of the European Council dealing with the  IGC will begin, as
   usual, with  an exchange  of  views  with the  President of  the  European
   Parliament on the subjects on the agenda.

2. Ministerial meetings of the IGC  will also be  preceded by an exchange  of
   views  with the  President of  the European  Parliament,  assisted by  the
   representatives of the European Parliament, on the items on the agenda.

3. Once  a  month  and   whenever  the  Ministers'  representatives  deem  it
   necessary by  common accord, the Presidency  will hold a working  meeting,
   on the  occasion of meetings  of the  Ministers' representatives, for  the
   purpose of holding a  detailed exchange of views with the  representatives
   of the European Parliament.

4. The Presidency will regularly  provide oral or written information to  the
   European Parliament.  It will also, as  agreed, provide information to the
   national  Parliaments  through the  Conference  of  bodies concerned  with
   Community affairs (COSAC).

5. The European  Parliament's association  will begin with  an invitation  to
   the President  of the European Parliament  and two representatives of  the
   European Parliament to the opening of the IGC in Turin on 29 March 1996.

6. The  Presidency will  ensure the  smooth organization  of the  IGC and the
   European   Parliament's  association   with  it,   bearing  in   mind  the
   intergovernmental nature  of  the  Conference,   the  competences of  each
   party  and the need for  close cooperation marked by  mutual trust between
   the Institutions.

EUROPEAN CONFIDENCE PACT FOR EMPLOYMENT, GROWTH AND COMPETITIVENESS

The European Council discussed the problems of growth and employment.

The  President  of the  Commission,  Mr  SANTER, submitted  to  the  European
Council  his initiative  for  a  European  confidence  pact  for  employment,
intended  to  introduce   a  consistent  strategy  common  to   the  European
institutions, governments and both sides of industry.

President  Chirac   illustrated  the  proposals   contained  in   the  French
memorandum on a European social model.

Referring to  the White Paper on  Growth, Competitiveness and Employment  and
to the conclusions adopted  at its meetings in Essen,  Cannes and Madrid, the
European Council reaffirmed  its commitment  to job creation  as a matter  of
priority  and  welcomed  the  Presidency's  intention  of  attaching  maximum
importance  to discussion of this subject at the next meeting in Florence, on
the basis of President Santer's confidence  pact and of contributions made by
some Member States.  It therefore instructed the  Council, to coordinate this
work  and  to  press  ahead actively  with  study  of  the various  proposals
designed to contribute towards these objectives. 

In this context, it  noted that, in preparation  for the Florence meeting  of
the European  Council, the Italian Presidency  intended to hold a  Tripartite
Conference on growth and  employment, involving governments, social  partners
and the Commission, in Rome in mid-June.

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