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2271st Council meeting- GENERAL AFFAIRS -Luxembourg, 13 June 2000

European Council - PRES/00/205   30/11/2000

Other available languages: FR DE DA ES NL IT SV FI EL

Conseil/00/205

Luxembourg, 13 June 20009274/00 (Presse 205)

2271st Council meeting- GENERAL AFFAIRS -Luxembourg, 13 June 2000

President : Mr Jaime GAMA

Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Portuguese Republic

CONTENTS

PARTICIPANTS 

ITEMS DEBATED

VSTATUTE OF MEMBERS OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT PAGEREF _Toc485618388 \h VPREPARATION FOR THE EUROPEAN COUNCIL MEETING IN FEIRA PAGEREF _Toc485618389 \h VIMEDITERRANEAN COMMON STRATEGY PAGEREF _Toc485618390 \h VIEUROPEAN SECURITY AND DEFENCE POLICY PAGEREF _Toc485618391 \h VIEUROPEAN CHARTER FOR SMALL ENTERPRISES PAGEREF _Toc485618392 \h VIEAST TIMOR - CONCLUSIONS PAGEREF _Toc485618393 \h VIIINDONESIA PAGEREF _Toc485618394 \h VIIAFRICA PAGEREF _Toc485618395 \h VII?ZIMBABWE - CONCLUSIONS PAGEREF _Toc485618396 \h VII?SIERRA LEONE/LIBERIA - CONCLUSIONS PAGEREF _Toc485618397 \h VIIISOUTH AFRICA PAGEREF _Toc485618398 \h VIIIWESTERN BALKANS - CONCLUSIONS PAGEREF _Toc485618399 \h VIIIMONTENEGRO PAGEREF _Toc485618400 \h XEU DECLARATION ON THE INTER KOREAN SUMMIT OF 13/14 JUNE 2000 PAGEREF _Toc485618401 \h XITEMS APPROVED WITHOUT DEBATEEXTERNAL RELATIONS PAGEREF _Toc485618402 \h X--EU-India Summit PAGEREF _Toc485618403 \h X--EU-Canada Summit PAGEREF _Toc485618404 \h X--EU-Israel Association Council PAGEREF _Toc485618405 \h XI--EU-Slovakia Association Council PAGEREF _Toc485618406 \h XI--EU-Slovenia Association Council PAGEREF _Toc485618407 \h XI--Relations with Ukraine PAGEREF _Toc485618408 \h XI--Relations with Russia PAGEREF _Toc485618409 \h XI--Northern Dimension PAGEREF _Toc485618410 \h XII--Human Rights, Democratic Principles, the Rule of Law and Good Governance in Africa PAGEREF _Toc485618411 \h XII--Conflict Prevention and Resolution in Africa PAGEREF _Toc485618412 \h XII--Cuba - conclusions PAGEREF _Toc485618413 \h XII--Turkey PAGEREF _Toc485618414 \h XIII--Code of conduct on arms exports PAGEREF _Toc485618415 \h XIIIENLARGMENT PAGEREF _Toc485618416 \h XIV--Accession Conferences at Ministerial level PAGEREF _Toc485618417 \h XIVJUSTICE AND HOME AFFAIRS PAGEREF _Toc485618418 \h XIV--External relations in the field of Justice and Home Affairs PAGEREF _Toc485618419 \h XIV--EU Action Plan on drugs PAGEREF _Toc485618420 \h XV--Asylum and Migration - Activity report of the High Level Working Group PAGEREF _Toc485618421 \h XVHUMANITARIAN AID PAGEREF _Toc485618422 \h XV--Food Aid Convention PAGEREF _Toc485618423 \h XVINTERNAL MARKET PAGEREF _Toc485618424 \h XVI--White paper on food safety PAGEREF _Toc485618425 \h XVI--The Commission Communication on the precautionary principle PAGEREF _Toc485618426 \h XVI

_________________

For further information call 285 87 04, 285 81 11

PARTICIPANTS

The Governments of the Member States and the European Commission were represented as follows:

Belgium :

Mr Pierre CHEVALIERState Secretary for Foreign Trade, attached to the Minister of Foreign Affairs
Denmark :
Mr Hans HÆKKERUPMinister for Defence
Poul Skytte CHRISTOFFERSENAmbassador, Permanent Representative
Germany :
Mr Christoph ZÖPELMinister of State, Foreign Affairs
Mr Walter KOLBOWParliamentary State Secretary to the Federal Minister for Defence
Greece :
Ms Elissavet PAPAZOÏDeputy Minister for Foreign Affairs
Mr Apostolos-Athanasios TSOCHATZOPOULOSMinister for Defence
Spain :
Mr Josep PIQUÉ I CAMPSMinister for Foreign Affairs
Mr Federico TRILLO-FIGUEROA Y MARTÍNEZ CONDEMinister for Defence
Mr Ramón de MIGUELState Secretary for European Affairs
France :
Mr Hubert VEDRINEMinister for Foreign Affairs
Mr Alain RICHARDMinister for Defence
Ireland :
Mr Brian COWENMinister for Foreign Affairs
Italy :
Mr Umberto RANIERIState Secretary for Foreign Affairs
Mr Marco MINNITIState Secretary for Defence
Luxembourg :
Ms Lydie POLFERMinister for Foreign Affairs
Mr Charles GOERENSMinister for Cooperation, Humanitarian Intervention
Netherlands :
Mr Dick BENSCHOPState Secretary for European Affairs
Mr Frank de GRAVEMinister for Defence
Austria :
Ms Benita FERRERO-WALDNERMinister for Foreign Affairs
Mr Herbert SCHEIBNERMinister for Defence
Portugal :
Mr Jaime GAMAMinister for Foreign Affairs
Mr Júlio CASTRO CALDASMinister for Defence
Mr Francisco SEIXAS da COSTAState Secretary for European Affairs
Finland :
Mr Erkki TUOMIOJAMinister for Foreign Affairs
Mr Kimmo SASIMinister of Foreign Trade and European Affairs
Sweden :
Ms Anna LINDHMinister for Foreign Affairs
Ms Yvonne GUSTAFSSONState Secretary at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs

United-Kingdom :

Mr Keith VAZMinister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Mr Geoff HOONSecretary of State for Defence
Commission :
Mr Michel BARNIERMember
Mr Poul NIELSONMember
Mr Christopher PATTENMember
General Secretariat of the Council :
Mr Javier SOLANASecretary General / High Representative for CFSP
INTERGOVERNEMENTAL CONFERENCE

The 5th Ministerial session of the IGC was preceded by the customary exchange of views with the European Parliament represented by MEPs Elmar BROK and Athanasios TSATSOS, standing in for the President of the European Parliament, Ms FONTAINE, who was unable to attend.

The President of the IGC Preparatory Group, State Secretary SEIXAS da COSTA, informed Ministers on work carried out at the last two meetings at representative level.

Mr BROK, on behalf of the European Parliament, stressed in particular that the outcome of the IGC should secure the Union's ability to develop after enlarging to up to 27 member states by reforming structures and procedures in such a way as to maintain and enhance ability to act, democratic legitimacy and transparency. Extension of decision making by qualified majority voting constitutes, in the view of the European Parliament, a decisive element for achieving this goal.

At the beginning of the Ministerial session, the President outlined the structure of the Presidency's comprehensive report which will be finalised in the light of today's ministerial discussion. The report will be divided into two parts. The first part will contain an assessment of the progress achieved so far by the Conference, giving a fair and objective presentation of the broad tendencies which have emerged from discussions. The second part will contain a series of draft texts, tables and lists illustrating some of the options before the Conference.

The President indicated that the report will convey clearly the fact that the Conference has achieved considerable progress since its launch barely four months ago and that this should ensure that it can move into the final phase of its work on a sound basis.

During the discussion, the President requested Ministers to address in particular the question of whether issues other than those explicitly identified by the Helsinki Summit should be added to the Conference's agenda.

The debate showed that considerable support existed for continuing to examine the issue of enhanced cooperations (discussion of which continued over dinner). Other items touched upon during that debate included: possible additions to Article 7 of the TEU, Treaty reorganisation, as well as the work being carried out in other fora on Security and Defence and on the Charter of Fundamental Rights.

The President took note of the points made during the debate which will be reflected in the report in order to allow the European Council in Feira to clarify which of these issues merit further work or should be considered a necessary part of any final agreement.

STATUTE OF MEMBERS OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT

The Commission took note of a report by the Presidency on the work carried out during its term of office on the issue of the Statute of Members of the European Parliament. Four meetings with the Contact Group of the European Parliament have allowed negotiations on this matter to be put back on track within a climate of mutual trust between the Institutions.

The Presidency expressed the hope that this new climate, together with the evolution of reflection on all key elements of the Statute of MEPs and the efforts for reform undertaken in the Institutions, will allow for a satisfactory solution for both parties in the near future.

The incoming French Presidency indicated that it will continue to work on this issue as a matter of priority.

PREPARATION FOR THE EUROPEAN COUNCIL MEETING IN FEIRA

The President, subject to the customary letter from the President of the European Council to be issued shortly, informed the Council on the likely organisation of work in Feira on 19 and 20 June.

The meeting will begin on Monday morning with the customary meeting with the President of the European Parliament followed by an oral presentation by Mr Roman HERZOG, President of the "Convention" on the draft Charter of Fundamental rights. Also before lunch - together with Finance Ministers - the follow up to the Lisbon European Council and economic and financial matters will be addressed.

At the joint lunch of Heads of State and Government and Foreign Affairs Ministers the Intergovernmental Conference will be discussed with a special focus on the issue of "enhanced cooperations".

The afternoon session will be devoted to Enlargement, Security and Defence Policy as well as to External Relations issues.

The session of Tuesday morning will be dedicated to the discussion and approval of the conclusions.

It is to be noted that a number of items concerning various mandates for Feira have been repectively adopted, approved or taken note of -without debate - at the present meeting of General Affairs. These items include the implementation of the Common Strategy on Russia, the EU's Northern Dimension, External Action in the area of Justice and Home Affairs, an EU Drugs Strategy, an EU Charter for Small Enterprises and the Commission's White Paper on Food Safety.

Foreign Ministers will finalise the preparation of the Feira European Council at a special meeting in the evening of 18 June in Feira.

ECOFIN on its side has prepared, in view of the Feira European Council, the Broad Economic Policy Guidelines as well as the necessary acts for Greek entry into EMU. A further effort on the tax package will be made by ECOFIN on the eve of the European Council at a special session in Feira.

MEDITERRANEAN COMMON STRATEGY

The Council reached broad agreement on the draft Common Strategy of the European Union on the Mediterranean region. It will resume discussions, on one outstanding issue at its special session in Feira on Sunday evening (18 June), in order to finalise the draft to be submitted to the European Council for formal adoption.

EUROPEAN SECURITY AND DEFENCE POLICY

The Council, with the participation of Defence Ministers, endorsed the draft Presidency report to the European Council and welcomed the progress made on the development of the ESDP and in particular on the process of elaboration of the capabilities goals. The discussion confirmed the commitment of Member States to the achievement of development of the ESDP and the importance of a successful Capabilities Commitment Conference in November.

EUROPEAN CHARTER FOR SMALL ENTERPRISES

The Council adopted the draft Charter for Small enterprises and agreed to foward the Charter to the European Council for endorsement.

EAST TIMOR - CONCLUSIONS

The Council was briefed by the Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General and Transitional Administrator for East Timor, Sergio Vieira de Mello, on the situation in East Timor and the latest developments in the transition process towards independence. It reviewed the pace of reconstruction, the evolution of the political process, the return of the refugees and the security situation, both at the border and in West Timor.

The Council expressed its concern at the presence of tens of thousands of East Timorese refugees in West Timor and at continued, albeit diminished, levels of militia activity in and around the refugee camps.

It acknowledged the work currently being undertaken by UNTAET in close cooperation with the East Timorese political leadership, and expressed its willingness to help speed up the reconstruction and infrastructure rehabilitation process, in order to avoid any delays in the timetable to independence.

The Council also noted the need to create an effective East Timorese administrative structure well ahead of independence, essential for the development of a democratic and rule of law-oriented state.

It also stressed the need for pledges made at the December 1999 donors' conference in Tokyo to be delivered and disbursed expeditiously in order to address the worrying levels of unemployment in the Territory.

It hoped that work on these issues would be taken forward before and at the donors' conference in Lisbon, from 21 to 23 June.

The Commission, in turn, described the state of Community assistance to reconstruction and reconciliation in the Territory, notably the financing proposal of Euro 40 million (of which Euro 20m in 2000 and Euro 20m in 2001) in a total contribution of Euro 60 million envisaged over the next three years, to support the programme for rehabilitation and reconstruction in East Timor, in particular on health and infrastructure projects, through the Trust Fund set up by the World Bank.

The Council underlined its solidarity with the people of East Timor and its support for UNTAET in its efforts to meet one of the greatest challenges facing the United Nations.

INDONESIA

The Council approved on behalf of the EU a draft Joint Declaration with Indonesia to be issued following the meeting with Foreign Minister Shihab of the Republic of Indonesia in Luxembourg, on 14 June (over lunch) - see. doc. 9273/00 Presse 204.

AFRICA

  • ZIMBABWE - CONCLUSIONS

The Council is seriously concerned by the recent obstacles put in the way of international observers who have arrived in Zimbabwe to observe the elections there on 24-25 June.

The Council regrets that because of these developments the United Nations has had to withdraw from their role as coordinator for the various electoral observer teams. It is also concerned that observers are facing obstacles in obtaining accreditation and that the Government of Zimbabwe has placed conditions on the number and activities of EU and other observers in the field in a way which falls short of internationally accepted standards.

The Council recalls that the observers are there with the consent of the Government of Zimbabwe. It expects the Government of Zimbabwe to make good on its assurances about the security and freedom of access for the observers and urges it to do all it can to assist them in their work to observe the forthcoming elections in a transparent and comprehensive way so as to increase confidence in the electoral process.

The Council continues to be seriously concerned by the ongoing violence and intimitation in Zimbabwe and recalled its statement of 7 May.

  • SIERRA LEONE/LIBERIA - CONCLUSIONS

The Council expressed its deep concern about the continuing crisis in Sierra Leone. It strongly supports the efforts of the UN peacekeeping forces to restore long term peace and stability to that country. It appeals to the international community to join the EU in supporting a strategy in Sierra Leone, which further stabilises the security situation, repels the rebels, restores the peace process and helps to rebuild Sierra Leone.

The Council welcomed the decision of the Government of Sierra Leone to put Foday Sankoh, leader of the RUF, on trial and expresses the EU's willingness to consider any requests from the Government of Sierra Leone for assistance on this issue.

The Council while acknowledging the responsible role which President Taylor of Liberia played in the release of UN detainees held by the RUF in Sierra Leone, expressed deep concern that President Taylor has failed to act to prevent arms and other supplies from reaching the rebels in Sierra Leone from the territory of Liberia, that close links remain between those rebels and supporters in Liberia and that the illicit diamond trade continues through Liberia. The Council calls on Liberia to behave in a responsible and consistent way by contributing to a solution to the crisis in Sierra Leone. EU policy, including under the Lomé Convention, will take full account of Liberia's behaviour in regard to Sierra Leone.

SOUTH AFRICA

The Council approved the amendments introduced by the European Parliament in its second reading on the Regulation on Development and Cooperation with South Africa (South Africa Development Programme). The first amendment concerns the raising of the threshold for submitting projects to the comitology management procedure from 3 to 5 Meuro; the second sets the financial envelop at 885,5 Meuro (instead of 850,5 Meuro).

Following the Council's approval of all the amendments of the European Parliament, the Regulation is deemed to have been adopted in the form of the Common position of the Council thus amended.

WESTERN BALKANS - CONCLUSIONS

The Council expressed its deep concern at the continuing deterioration of the political situation in Serbia and reiterated its condemnation of the escalating repression by the Belgrade regime against the democratic opposition and independent media. In response to the ongoing repression by the authorities in Belgrade, the Council requested its competent bodies to expand further the visa ban list and urged all the Serbian democratic opposition parties to stay united and reinforce their co-operation.

The Council welcomed the fact that municipal elections took place in Podgorica and Herceg Novi. It took note of the results in both municipalities and reaffirmed its support to democratic forces in Montenegro. The Council condemned the continuing attempts of Belgrade to destabilise the reform process in Montenegro.

One year after the adoption of resolution 1244 by the UNSC, the Council reaffirmed the EU's strong commitment to its full implementation, as the framework for the international communities efforts in Kosovo. The Council condemned the continuing ethnically motivated violence in Kosovo and urged the leaders of all communities to commit themselves fully to the fight against such violence. It strongly supported the efforts of UNMIK and KFOR to take additional measures to ensure the security of the Serb minority in Kosovo and to reinforce the capacity of the police and the judiciary to bring the perpetrators of acts of violence to justice. The Council also underlined the need for early progress in improving the living conditions of the Serb population in Kosovo and to create an appropriate environment for the early return of refugees and displaced persons. While fully understanding their concerns the Council urged the Serb National Congress to reconsider their decision to suspend participation in the Joint Interim Administrative Structures. The Council emphasised the crucial importance of well prepared municipal elections as the first step to establish democratically legitimised institutions. It called upon Belgrade to co-operate in the registration process.

The Council reaffirmed the EU's commitment to strengthen its dialogue with Serbian civil society and to support democracy and the freedom of expression in Serbia; to continue its support to the democratically elected government of Montenegro, and to help re-establish multi-ethnicity in Kosovo. It welcomed the efforts of SG/HR Solana and Commissioner Patten in these regards and looked forward to their report to the Feira European Council.

The Council agreed with the Commission's assessment that the necessary conditions have been met by the new Croatian Government for the opening of negotiations on a Stabilisation and Association Agreement and took note of the Commission's intention to present a recommendation for a negotiating directive in the course of July. The Council welcomed the recent progress in sensitive areas of concern such as the return of refugees and displaced people, full co-operation with ICTY, improved regional co-operation and democratisation of the media as well as the first steps towards structural reform of the economy. It encouraged the Croatian Government to continue its efforts in all of these fields.

The Council stressed the importance of speedy reforms and of a regular electoral process for bringing Albania closer to the European structures. With this in mind, the Council emphasised the need for broad political consensus and urged all political parties to participate constructively in the preparations for the municipal elections this autumn, co-operating fully with the relevant international bodies involved. The Council expressed its continued support to efforts by the OSCE to contribute to the preparation of the upcoming electoral process.

The Council also heard a report by Commissioner PATTEN on a new regulation on exceptional trade measures, and invited its competent bodies to examine the proposal with a view to early Council adoption.

In reaffirming its support to the Stability Pact and to the Special Coordinator, the Council welcomed the outcome of the 8 June Thessaloniki meeting of the Regional Table and the adoption of the "Agenda for Stability" as a framework for future action for the initiative.

The Council welcomed the progress already achieved in restructuring the European Community Monitoring Mission and invited the Presidency to pursue the earliest possible adoption of a Joint Action. The Council took note of the Commission's intention to send an experts team to Sarajevo to advise on the establishment of financial and management mechanisms in accordance with budgetary rules and procedures. It invited the Commission to present at the earliest possible date a fiche financiere on the basis of the ongoing plan for the restructuring of ECMM.

The Council welcomed the successful launching at the Ancona Conference of 19-20 May of the Adriatic and Ionian Cooperation Process and invited the Commission to fully participate in the activities of the Adriatic and Ionian Council.

MONTENEGRO

The Council gave its positive opinion on the transfer (n°10/2000) proposed by the Commission concerning the financing of the special aid of 20 MEURO decided on 22 May, further to the Lisbon European Council conclusions, taking into account in particular the urgency of the implementation of this aid.

The Council found it however necessary that an in depth discussion on priorities and redeployment of spending within Heading 4 of the financial perspective should take place in the near future.

The Council will inform the European Parliament of its opinion without delay.

EU DECLARATION ON THE INTER KOREAN SUMMIT OF 13/14 JUNE 2000

The European Union welcomes the historic inter-Korean summit of 13/14 June in Pyongyang and considers it a success in itself that the summit took place. The European Union encourages the Republic of Korea and the Democratic Peoples' Republic of Korea to continue the process of reconciliation. The European Union intends to make a careful evaluation of the results of the summit as soon as possible.

ITEMS APPROVED WITHOUT DEBATE

(Decisions for which statements for the Council minutes have been made available to the public are indicated by asterisks; the statements in question may be obtained from the Press Office.)

EXTERNAL RELATIONS

EU-India Summit

The Council took note of information concerning the state of play of preparations for the first EU-India Summit, scheduled to take place in Lisbon on 28 June 2000.

It is planned that the EU will be represented by the Prime Minister Antonio GUTERRES, President of the European Council, assisted by the Secretary General/High Representative for CFSP Javier SOLANA, and the President of the European Commission Romano PRODI. India will be represented by Prime Minister Atal Behari VAJPAYEE. The President of the Council, Foreign Minister GAMA and Commissioner PATTEN are also expected to participate.

The Summit is expected to tackle the following themes : enhancement of EU-India relations; developments in Asia; developments in Europe; liberalisation of international trade; and co-operation in global areas (terrorism, drug-trafficking, disarmament and non-proliferation, human rights, environment).

EU-Canada Summit

The Council took note of information provided by the Presidency, the High Representative and the Commission on the State of Play of preparations for the EU-Canada Summit, which is scheduled to take place in Lisbon on 26 June 2000.

The European Union will be represented by the President of the European Council, Prime Minister António Guterres, and the President of the European Commission, Romano Prodi.

The Summit is expected to focus on a review of the international situation and regional developments (e.g. Russia, Africa, Middle East and China) and on the challenges of globalisation and information technologies (implications for employment and social cohesion).

EU-Israel Association Council

In preparation for the first meeting of the Association Council with Israel, the Council adopted the Union's common position and approved, on behalf of the EU, the draft Decision of the Association Council adopting its rules of procedure (see doc. 9275/00 Presse 206).

EU-Slovakia Association Council

In preparation for the sixth meeting of the Association Council with Slovakia, the Council adopted the Union's common position on the various agenda items, including Slovakia's pre-accession strategy, bilateral relations under the Europe Agreement, and international issues of common interest (see doc. UE-SK 2009/00 Presse 208).

EU-Slovenia Association Council

In preparation for the second meeting of the Association Council with Slovenia, the Council adopted the Union's common position on the various agenda items, including Slovenia's pre-accession strategy, bilateral relations under the Europe Agreement, and international issues of common interest (see doc. UE-SI 955/00 Presse 209).

Relations with Ukraine

The Council took note of a Progress Report on the Presidency's Work Plan on the Implementation of the Common Strategy on Ukraine.

This progress report focuses on the initiatives identified in the Common Strategy and shows the current state of play on the implementation in the following key areas :

  • consolidation of democracy, the rule of law and human rights,

  • support of the economic transition process in Ukraine,

  • cooperation to strengthen stability and security in Europe,

  • support for Ukraine's integration into the world economy,

  • cooperation in the field of Justice and Home Affairs.

Relations with Russia

The Council approved, in view of its transmission to the European Council, a report on the Implementation of the Union's Common Strategy on Russia.

In adopting in June 1999 the Common Strategy on Russia, the European Council requested the Council to review and evaluate regularly the Union's action under the Common Strategy, and to report to the European Council on progress towards its objectives not less than annually.

Given the calls from the Helsinki Council to review implementation of the Common Strategy and to suspend implementing some parts of the PCA (Partnership and Cooperation Agreement), the circumstances of this report are necessarily exceptional.

The report focuses on the following elements :

  • Consolidation of democracy, the rule of law and public institutions in Russia,

  • Integration of Russia into a common European economic and social space,

  • Cooperation to strengthen stability and security in Europe and beyond,

  • Common challenges on the European continent

      = Justice and Home Affairs,

      = Cross-border Cooperation,

      = Environmental Protection,

  • Coordination.

Northern Dimension

The Council agreed to recommend that the European Council endorse the Action Plan for the Northern Dimension in the external and cross-border policies of the European Union 2000-2003.

This Action Plan constitutes the Community's position and relates to those policy positions, objectives, priorities and guidelines for implementation which have been agreed by the partner countries Estonia, Iceland; Latvia, Lithuania, Norway, Poland and the Russian Federation. The plan is a reference document for actions planned or implemented in the Northern Dimension during 2000-2003 and serves as a political recommendation.

The Action Plan consists of two parts. The horizontal one recalls the major challenges associated with Northern Europe, the priorities for action agreed by the partner countries and the legal, institutional and financial framework for activities relating to the Northern Dimensions. The operational part sets out objectives and perspectives for actions during 2000-2003 in those sectors where expected added value is greatest. Such sectors are, for example, infrastructure, energy, cross-border cooperation and trade as well as the fight against crime.

Human Rights, Democratic Principles, the Rule of Law and Good Governance in Africa

The Council approved the Presidency's Review of the Common Position on Human Rights, Democratic Principles, the Rule of Law and Good Governance in Africa for the period 25 November 1999 - 25 May 2000.

Such a Review is foreseen by the Common Position of 25 May 1998 on Human Rights, Democratic Principles, the Rule of Law and Good Governance in Africa, article 5 of which stipulates that the Union's activities in the implementation of this Common Position should be reviewed on a six-monthly basis. This report of the Presidency is the fourth of its kind.

Conflict Prevention and Resolution in Africa

The Council approved the Presidency's Review of the Common Position on Conflict Prevention and Management in Africa and the related Council Conclusions of 2 June 1997 for the period 2 June 1999 - 2 June 2000.

Article 5 of the Common Position on Conflict Prevention and Resolution in Africa stipulates that it, together with the related Council conclusions of 2 June 1997, should be reviewed after one year. In 1998, the Council agreed to an annual review of the activities of the Union in this area. This Report of the Presidency, in association with the Commission, is the third of its kind.

Cuba - conclusions

The Council took note of the seventh evaluation of the EU Common Position on Cuba. The Council noted that since the previous evaluation last December, although there continued to be mixed signals, there has not been a fundamental change of policy on the part of the Cuban Government, either towards the accomplishment of the aims of the Common Position or in the opposite direction.

The Council reiterated that the objective of the European Union towards Cuba remains the encouragement of a process of peaceful transition to pluralist democracy, the respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms, as well as sustainable economy and economic recovery and improvement in the living standards of the Cuban people.

In this sense the Council considers that it is essential that the EU should deploy further efforts to engage the Cuban authorities in a constructive and frank dialogue on a variety of issues of common interest that may actually produce tangible results, particularly in the political, economic and civil rights spheres. Confidence building measures should thus continue to be implemented in the spirit of the Common Position, which will be maintained as the basis of EU-Cuban relations.

The Council also agreed on the need to initiate a debate in order to update EU relations with Cuba.

Turkey

The Council adopted a Common position with a view to the adoption of a Regulation regarding the implementation of measures to promote economic and social development in Turkey.

It is recalled that the Cardiff European Council on 15 and 16 June 1998 affirmed the importance it attached to the implementation of the European strategy for Turkey and requested the Commission to table proposals, including proposals on financial matters, in that connection.

The projects and programmes to be financed with the support provided by the present Regulation must further Turkey's economic and social development, help to promote the defence of human rights and respect for, and the protection of, the country's minorities, contribute to the reform of its development policies and the restructuring of its institutional and legal framework in order to ensure compliance with these principles.

The Regulation establishes a financial framework for the implementation of this programme for the period 2000-2002 of 135 MEURO.

Code of conduct on arms exports

The Council adopted a Common list of military equipment covered by the European Union code of conduct on arms exports.

The Code of conduct on Arms Exports approved by the Council on 8 June 1998 established, inter alia that Member States would work for the early adoption of a common list of military equipment covered by the Code. In its first annual review of the operation of the Code (November 1999) the Council identified as a top priority the finalisation of the Common list.

The Common list will be published in the Official Journal of the European Communities, Series "C".

Council Declaration issued on the occasion of the adoption of the common list of military equipment covered by the European Union code of conduct on arms exports

    1. The Council underlines the importance of reinforcing controls of arms exports in order to contribute to the combat against the illicit trafficking of arms, to a better respect of human rights and to a greater degree of international security and stability.

    2. To this end, and in accordance with Operative Provision Nº5 of the Code of Conduct on Arms Exports, the Council has adopted the following Common List of Military Equipment, thus representing a significant positive development in the operation of the Code of Conduct and in the process of Member States' convergence in the field of conventional arms exports.

    3. Like the Code of Conduct, the Common List of Military Equipment has the status of a political commitment in the framework of CFSP. In this sense, all Member States hereby make a political commitment to ensure that their national legislation enables them to control the export of all the goods on the list. It is therefore envisaged that the Common List of Military Equipment will act as reference point for Member States' national military lists, rather than directly replacing them.

    4. Noting that the Common List of Military Equipment has an evolutionary character, Member States will continue updating it on a regular basis.

    5. The Council also considers that the export of certain non-military goods should be controlled for human rights reasons. The Council welcomes the progress made in the relevant Council bodies in drafting a working list of such items, covering in particular equipment for paramilitary, public order and internal security purposes. The Council notes the Commission's intention to bring forward a proposal based on that list as soon as possible. The Council looks forward to the finalisation of the list at an early date.

ENLARGMENT

Accession Conferences at Ministerial level

The Council adopted the common positions of the European Union on a number of chapters with a view to the negotiations to be held at Ministerial level with Cyprus, Malta, Hungary, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Latvia, Estonia, Lithuania, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic and Slovenia on 13 and 14 June 2000.

The common positions of the Union adopted by the Council are on the following chapters:

  • chapter 4 (Free Movement of Capital) with PL/SI,

  • chapter 6 (Competition Policy) with H,

  • chapter 7 (Agriculture) with CY/H/PL/EE/CZ/SI,

  • chapter 10 (Taxation) with EE/CZ,

  • chapter 25 (Customs Union) with CZ,

  • chapter 26 (External Relations) with M/RO/SK/LV/LT/EE/BG/CZ,

  • chapter 28 (Financial Control) with CY/H/PLEE/CZ/SI,

  • chapter 29 (Financial and Budget Provisions) with CY/H/PL/EE/CZ/SI

JUSTICE AND HOME AFFAIRS

External relations in the field of Justice and Home Affairs

The Council approved - with a view to endorsement by the European Council - a report on the EU's priorities and objectives for External Relations in the field of Justice and Home Affairs.

In Tampere the European Council asked the Council, in close cooperation with the Commission, to draw up specific recommendations on priorities, policy objectives and measures for the Union's external action in justice and home affairs, including questions of working structure, to be submitted prior to the European Council meeting in June 2000 (point 61 of the Tampere conclusions).

The Report deals with the Justice and Home Affairs dimension of external policies of the Union, the priorities to be set, the means to implement these priorities and working structures.

The Report stresses the need for the Union to integrate JHA matters fully in the Union's external policy so that a comprehensive, integrated, cross-pillar action is carried out by the Union as a whole. The priorities for this action are defined in the report and include in particular immigration and asylum matters, fight against organised crime and terrorism, drugs and money laundering, high-tech crime and trafficking in human beings, civil law cooperation and building partnerships with important countries including the candidate countries, international organisations and bodies relevant to the Union's priorities.

The Report suggests ways and means to make full use of all the instruments available to the Union to integrate JHA matters in Union policies, and deals with representation of the Union both in Title IV and Title VI matters. The Report suggests appropriate working structures to ensure a coherent approach to these matters under the authority of COREPER.

EU Action Plan on drugs

The Council adopted the EU-Action Plan on drugs to be forwarded to the European Council in Feira. At its meeting of December 1999 in Helsinki the European Council endorsed the European Union Drugs Strategy (2000-2004). The Strategy covers all EU drug related activities over the next five years. It sets the main targets and characteristics for the actions to be undertaken at all levels. The present action-plan transposes the strategy into concrete actions.

The EU Action plan on Drugs defines actions to be undertaken during the 2000-2004 period and has two objectives:

  • First, it should provide a guide to the activities that all EU institutions and the Member States should undertake over the next five years in order to follow the EU Drugs Strategy (2000-2004).

  • Secondly, it should provide a solid base for the evaluations of the EU Drugs Strategy (2000-2004) promised by the Commission

No precise target dates have been set for most actions in order to respect a certain flexibility. However, the plan has to be implemented by 2004 and for certain actions precise target dates are set (e.g. end of 2000 for completion by Commission of study on establishing minimum rules related to constituent elements and penalties for illicit drug trafficking).

Asylum and Migration - Activity report of the High Level Working Group

The Council adopted the Action Plan for Albania and the neighbouring region drawn up by the High Level Group.

It also approved a list of possible actions for 2000 for the implementation of the five Action Plans for Afghanistan, Iraq, Morocco, Somalia and Sri Lanka, adopted by the Council in October 1999, l, and instructed the HLWG to continue to monitor the implementation of the Action Plans and to develop and complete the list with a view to addressing to the European Council in December 2000 a comprehensive report on the implementation of all of the Actions Plans including the one for Albania and the region.

HUMANITARIAN AID

Food Aid Convention

The Council adopted a Decision on the conclusion by the European Community of the Food Aid Convention 1999.

The Decision provides that the President of the Council shall deposit the instrument of approval provided for in Article XXII(b) of the Food Aid Convention 1999 with the Secretary-General of the United Nations on behalf of the European Community.

INTERNAL MARKET

White paper on food safety

The Council took note of the progress report on the White Paper on Food Safety to be presented to the Feira European Council, in accordance with the Conclusions of the Helsinki European Council which asked the Council to examine as a matter of urgency the forthcoming Commission White Paper on food safety and instructed the Portuguese Presidency to present a progress report to the .

Feira Council in June 2000.

The White Paper, forwarded by the Commission in January, has been examined by several Council formations on the following dates:

  • 24 January and 20 March: Agriculture Council;

  • 16 March: Internal Market Council;

  • 13 April: Consumer Affairs Council;

  • 25 May: further meeting of the Internal Market Council, which finalised the proceedings.

It is also to be noted that the Health Council, at its meeting of 29 June, will take stock of the state of play concerning this White Paper.

The Commission Communication on the precautionary principle

The Council took note of the progress report on the Commission Communication on the precautionary principle, to be forwarded to the Feira European Council, in accordance with the Conclusions of the Helsinki European Council which asked the Council to examine as a matter of urgency the forthcoming Commission communication on the precautionary principle and asked the Portuguese Presidency to present a progress report to the June European Council.

The communication was presented to the Council on 4 February 2000. It was given a first reading by the Friends of the Presidency Group, which had been asked mainly to examine the White Paper on food safety. The Presidency drew up a report at the close of this examination on the understanding that the communication would require further consideration.


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