Navigation path

Left navigation

Additional tools

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

C/02/124

Brussels, 13 May 2002

8649/02 (Presse 124)

2425th Council meeting - GENERAL AFFAIRS - Brussels, 13 May 2002

President :

Mr Josep PIQUE I CAMPS, Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of Spain.

CONTENTS(1)

PARTICIPANTS 

ITEMS DEBATED

VIPREPARATION OF THE JOHANNESBURG SUMMIT ON SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT PAGEREF _Toc9131050 \h VIANNUAL POLICY STRATEGY 2003 - Council Conclusions PAGEREF _Toc9131051 \h VIEFFECTIVENESS OF THE UNION'S EXTERNAL ACTION PAGEREF _Toc9131052 \h VIIECONOMIC PARTNERSHIP AGREEMENT WITH ACP COUNTRIES AND REGIONS - Council Conclusions PAGEREF _Toc9131053 \h VIIRENEWAL OF MANDATES AND FINANCING OF EU SPECIAL REPRESENTATIVES : Council Conclusions PAGEREF _Toc9131054 \h VIIMIDDLE EAST - Council Conclusions PAGEREF _Toc9131055 \h VIIEUROPEAN SECURITY AND DEFENCE POLICY PAGEREF _Toc9131056 \h VIII-MILITARY CAPABILITIES - Council Conclusions PAGEREF _Toc9131057 \h VIII-CRISIS MANAGEMENT PAGEREF _Toc9131058 \h IXWESTERN BALKANS PAGEREF _Toc9131059 \h X-2002 ANNUAL COUNCIL REVIEW OF THE STABILISATION AND ASSOCIATION PROCESS FOR SOUTH EASTERN EUROPE - Council Conclusions PAGEREF _Toc9131060 \h X-DANUBE COOPERATION PROCESS - Council Conclusions PAGEREF _Toc9131061 \h XIIIRELATIONS WITH IRAN PAGEREF _Toc9131062 \h XIIIANGOLA - Council Conclusions PAGEREF _Toc9131063 \h XIVITEMS APPROVED WITHOUT DEBATE PAGEREF _Toc9131064 \h XIVEXTERNAL RELATIONS PAGEREF _Toc9131065 \h XIV--Relations with Russia PAGEREF _Toc9131066 \h XIV--Relations with Mexico PAGEREF _Toc9131067 \h XIV--Romania - participation in the Fiscalis programme PAGEREF _Toc9131068 \h XV--ACP-EC Partnership Agreement - Extension of transitional measures PAGEREF _Toc9131069 \h XV--Albania - Operation of the EU Monitoring Mission PAGEREF _Toc9131070 \h XV--Implementation of the Göteborg programme PAGEREF _Toc9131071 \h XV--Scientific and technological cooperation between the EC and Chile PAGEREF _Toc9131072 \h XVESDP PAGEREF _Toc9131073 \h XV--Consultation and Co-operation with Canada, Russia and Ukraine PAGEREF _Toc9131074 \h XVEUROPEAN ECONOMIC AREA PAGEREF _Toc9131075 \h XVIAPPOINTMENTS PAGEREF _Toc9131076 \h XVI--Committee of the Regions PAGEREF _Toc9131077 \h XVITRANSPARENCY PAGEREF _Toc9131078 \h XVI--Public access to Council documents PAGEREF _Toc9131079 \h XVI

For further information call 02 / 285 61 94 - 285 82 39 - 285 62 19 - 285 63 19

PARTICIPANTS

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

Belgium :

Mr Louis MICHELDeputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs
Mr André FLAHAUTMinister for Defence
Denmark :
Mr Per Stig MØLLERMinister for Foreign Affairs
Mr Carsten SØNDERGAARDState Secretary for European Affairs
Germany :
Mr Joschka FISCHERFederal Minister for Foreign Affairs and Deputy Federal Chancellor
Mr Rudolf SCHARPINGMinister for Defence
Greece :
Mr George PAPANDREOUMinister for Foreign Affairs
Mr Yannos PAPANTONIOUMinister for Defence
Mr Anastasios GIANNITSISDeputy Minister for Foreign Affairs
Spain :
Mr Josep PIQUE I CAMPSMinister for Foreign Affairs
Mr Federico TRILLO-FIGUEROA Y MARTINEZ CONDEMinister for Defence
France :
Mr Dominique GALOUZEAU de VILLEPINMinister for Foreign Affairs
Mr Renaud DONNEDIEU de VABRESDeputy Minister for European Affairs
Ireland :
Ms Anne ANDERSONAmbassador, Permanent Representative
Italy :
Mr Silvio BERLUSCONIPrime Minister, Acting Minister for Foreign Affairs
Mr Antonio MARTINO

Mr Paolo BONAIUTI

Minister for Defence

State Secretary, Prime Minister's Office Responsible for Information and Publications

Luxembourg :
Ms Lydie POLFERMinister for Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade
Mr Charles GOERENSMinister for Cooperation, Humanitarian Intervention and Defence
Netherlands :
Mr Jozias VAN AARTSENMinister for Foreign Affairs
Mr Frank de GRAVEMinister for Defence
Austria :
Ms Benita FERRERO-WALDNERFederal Minister for Foreign Affairs
Mr Herbert SCHEIBNERFederal Minister for National Defence
Portugal :
Mr António MARTINS DA CRUZMinister for Foreign Affairs and Portuguese Communities Abroad
Mr Paolo PORTASMinister for Defence
Mr Carlos COSTA NEVESState Secretary for European Affairs
Finland :
Mr Erkki TUOMIOJAMinister for Foreign Affairs
Mr Jan-Erik ENESTAMMinister for Defence
Mr Jari VILÉNMinister of Foreign Trade
Sweden :
Ms Anna LINDHMinister for Foreign Affairs
Mr Björn VON SYDOWMinister for Defence
United Kingdom :
Mr Jack STRAWSecretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs
Mr Geoffrey HOONMinister for Defence
Mr Peter HAINMinister of State for Europe

Commission :

Mr Poul NIELSONMember
Mr Christopher PATTENMember
Mr Pascal LAMYMember
* * *
General Secretariat of the Council :
Mr Javier SOLANASecretary-General/High Representative for the CFSP

Participants from the non-EU European NATO members and the candidate countries for accession to the EU at the meetings held on 14 May 2002 with EU Defence Ministers on military capabilities:

Bulgaria :

Mr Nikolay SVINAROVMinister for Defence
Cyprus :
Mr Socrates HASIKOSMinister for Defence
Estonia :
Mr Sven MIKSERMinister for Defence
Hungary :
Mr János SZABÓMinister of Defence
Latvia :
Mr Edgars RINKE�VICSState Secretary for Defence
Lithuania :
Mr Linas LINKEVICCIUSMinister for Defence
Malta :
Mr Edward FENECH ADAMIPrime Minister, Responsible for Defence
Poland :
Mr Andrzej TOWPIKUnder-Secretary of State for Defence
Slovak Republic :
Mr Rastislav KACERState Secretary for Defence
Czech Republic :
Mr Stefan FÜLEDeputy Minister for Defence
Romania :
Mr Ioan Mircea PASCUMinister for National Defence
Slovenia :
Mr Janko DEZELAKState Secretary for Defence
Turkey :
Mr Sabahattion ÇAKMAKOGGLUMinister for National Defence
Iceland :
Mr Gunnar Snorri GUNNARSSONAmbassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary, Head of the Mission to the European Union
Norway :
Ms Kristin KROHN DEVOLDMinister for Defence
PROGRESS OF WORK IN OTHER COUNCIL CONFIGURATIONS

As part of its role in coordinating the Council's activities and ensuring overall consistency, the Council took note of work underway in other configurations of the Council on the basis of a Presidency progress report (doc. 8541/1/02). The Council expressed in particular its satisfaction at the outcome of the recent Justice and Home Affairs Council, where agreement was reached on minimum standards for the reception of asylum seekers, and at the recent ECOFIN Council.

PREPARATION OF THE JOHANNESBURG SUMMIT ON SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT

The Council took stock of progress in preparations for the World Summit on Sustainable Development which will take place in Johannesburg from 26 August to 4 September 2002. It held a debate in which Ministers expressed convergent views on the importance of good preparation for the Johannesburg Summit and on the central role to be played by the EU in this process in order to ensure a success.

The Council instructed the relevant Council bodies to pursue actively their preparatory work on a concrete contribution from the Development Council on 30 May as input for the EU mandate for Johannesburg to be approved at the General Affairs Council on 17 June and which is expected to be endorsed by the European Council in Seville on 21/22 June 2002.

ANNUAL POLICY STRATEGY 2003 - Council Conclusions

Following up on the presentation by the Commission of its Annual Policy Strategy 2003 (APS) and the debate on 11 March 2002, the Council agreed the following conclusions:

    "1. The Council discussed the Commission's Annual Policy Strategy for 2003 in the framework of a dialogue between the two Institutions, following the initial presentation by President Prodi at its meeting on 11 March.

    The Council welcomed the three main priorities proposed by the Commission for 2003: making a success of enlargement, ensuring stability and security for EU citizens and developing a sustainable and inclusive economy.

    The Council took note of the key initiatives that the Commission proposes should be carried out in 2003 in furtherance of the APS priorities, as well as of the clarifications provided by the Commission. The Council invited the Commission to take due account of the remarks made by Member States, in particular when preparing a stocktaking document in the autumn to review the main legislative proposals that the Commission intends to introduce in its Legislative and Work Program.

    The Council furthermore took note of the Commission's intention to engage in a dialogue with the two Member States which will hold the Presidency during the period covered by this APS.

    This does not, however, imply acceptance of the budgetary consequences identified by the Commission as necessary to the realisation of the said policy priorities and related initiatives. These will have to be studied in the framework of the examination of the Preliminary Draft Budget for 2003. The Council stressed the need for compliance with the current Financial Perspectives.

    The Council welcomed the opportunity provided by the presentation of the Annual Policy Strategy to pursue dialogue on strategic planning and programming. Taking into account the priorities defined by the European Council, it confirmed the need for reinforced programming of EU activities and the timely identification of political priorities for an enlarged European Union. In this connection, the Council invited the Presidency and the Secretary General of the Council to reflect on the possibility of addressing this issue in the context of the report on Council reforms to be submitted to the Seville European Council.

    Furthermore, in this framework, the Council recommends that future APS should be presented as early as possible in the year with a view to allowing improved coherence with the budgetary process, in particular as regards the preparation of the Preliminary Draft Budget."

EFFECTIVENESS OF THE UNION'S EXTERNAL ACTION

The Council took stock of work in hand in order to improve the effectiveness and coherence of the Union's external action, and noted contributions from various Council preparatory bodies on inter-pillar coordination, strengthening of the role of the EU in international organisations, budgetary questions, quality of development aid, coordination in the field and the decision-making process in Brussels and in capitals.

The Council also heard a presentation by Commissioner Patten of the initial results of case studies relating to four pilot countries which are designed to make it easier to assess the contribution of the EU Member States against other international players. Commissioner Patten also reported on the deconcentration process in which the Commission has embarked on in order to further devolve responsibilities to Commission delegations on the spot.

The Council agreed to review these issues again in the autumn on the basis of further detailed preparatory work building on the concrete suggestions put forward in the debate.

ECONOMIC PARTNERSHIP AGREEMENT WITH ACP COUNTRIES AND REGIONS - Council Conclusions

"The Council,

    - welcomed the Commission's proposal for a mandate to negotiate Economic Partnership Agreements with the ACP countries and regions; recalled that the objectives of the future trading arrangements with the ACP States under the Cotonou Agreement are the smooth and gradual integration of ACP States into the world economy and the eradication of poverty;

    - held an orientation debate on the draft negotiating directives, addressing in particular the questions of market access and WTO compatibility and flexibility with a view to the objectives of the Cotonou Agreement; stressed in particular that the envisaged Economic Partnership Agreements should be regarded as a tool for development and, by the same token, be WTO compatible;

    - instructed the Permanent Representatives' Committee to continue its discussion, in the light of this debate, and to report back to the Council at its next session with the view of adopting the mandate, bearing in mind that the negotiations will be formally launched on 27 September 2002."

RENEWAL OF MANDATES AND FINANCING OF EU SPECIAL REPRESENTATIVES (EUSRs): Council Conclusions

"The Council, recalling the essential role of the EUSRs in the implementation of the Union's policy on the ground and taking into account the avis submitted by the PSC, agreed on the principle of the extension of the functions of the EUSRs for FYROM and Afghanistan and to this end asked its relevant bodies to study financial formulae that will make possible this extension.

The Council will return to the issue of adequate budgetary provision for Special Representatives at its next meeting."

MIDDLE EAST - Council Conclusions

Over lunch, Ministers discussed the situation in the Middle East, including prospects for convening an international conference and the positive outcome of the deadlock in the Muqata and at the Church of Nativity. On the latter issue, the Council agreed the following conclusions:

"The Council welcomes the end of the "Church of Nativity" in Bethlehem crisis, calls on all sides to respect religious and cultural monuments of the region and reiterates its gratitude to the Government of the Republic of Cyprus for its valuable assistance to the EU Governments in provisionally accepting the 13 Palestinians on its territory.

The Council welcomes the offer by Member States to provide a temporary stay on humanitarian grounds within the EU to a number of Palestinians until recently held up in the "Church of Nativity".

We understand that this offer was made in the context of the extreme circumstances surrounding this issue and as a way out of a crisis that could have had widespread ramifications if it had continued.

The EU in accordance with the undertakings given to the Government of the Republic of Cyprus by the EU Presidency will relocate these Palestinians in certain EU Member States.

The Council agrees to ask the Permanent Representatives' Committee to define the relevant modalities in the next few days."

EUROPEAN SECURITY AND DEFENCE POLICY

  • MILITARY CAPABILITIES - Council Conclusions

    "1. The Council welcomed the participation of the Ministers of Defence, meeting, as agreed at its meeting of 18 February, for the first time, under the chairmanship of the Minister of Defence of the Presidency, to discuss certain agenda items covering military capabilities. The Council examined all relevant aspects of the development of EU military capabilities as set out at Laeken: the Capability Development Mechanism; progress within the framework of the European Capability Action Plan; Rapid Response Elements of the Helsinki Headline Goal; Command and Control arrangements for Operational Headquarters; and co-operation in the field of Armaments.

    2. Welcoming the progress towards establishing the Capability Development Mechanism (CDM), the Council decided to undertake every effort in order to further monitor and evaluate progress and address shortfalls in the development of EU military capabilities and to develop the principles and framework for coherent and mutually reinforcing capabilities requirements with NATO within the CDM.

    3. In accordance with the Laeken mandate, the Council was informed of progress in the building of European military capabilities and in remedying the remaining shortfalls with a view to the completion of the Headline Goal. It welcomed the PSC progress report, on the basis of the opinion of the EUMC, on the implementation of the European Capability Action Plan (ECAP). It welcomed the co-operation between Member States in the framework of this Plan. The Council noted with satisfaction that many of the shortfalls remediable by the ECAP, including most of the significant ones, are already under scrutiny by active panels. However, as expected as this early stage, significant shortfalls will remain until results have been produced, while others still need to be addressed.

      The Council expected continuing progress in strengthening military capabilities through the implementation of the ECAP. It requested a further progress report to be submitted during the Danish Presidency.

    5. The Council examined the PSC progress report, on the basis of the opinion of the EUMC, on the development of the procedures and concepts required for the deployment of the rapid response elements of the Headline Goal, in particular progress in identifying the relevant shortfalls and continuation of work on the operational concepts relevant to operations requiring a rapid response. The Council confirmed the need further to develop concepts and procedures in accordance with the Presidency Workplan on Rapid Response.

    6. In this context, the Council welcomed the progress on Command and Control arrangements for national and multinational Headquarters. It requested the competent Council bodies to continue work in the various areas related to the improvement of operationality of Headquarters.

    7. In line with the Mandate to the Spanish Presidency agreed in the European Council at Laeken, the Council discussed how to enhance co-operation in the Armament field in support of the ESDP, as Member States consider appropriate. In this regard, it welcomed the initiative of the Presidency to hold an informal meeting of the EU National Armaments Directors in Madrid, on 29 April 2002 and took note of the valuable exchange of views that took place on this occasion. The Council agreed on the need for further work on these issues taking into account the orientations by the Presidency set out in a separate document attached to these conclusions. The Council invited the PSC to report on the work carried out in this field within the framework of ECAP.

Orientations by the Presidency on the re-inforcement of co-operation in the field of armaments:

  • Co-operation on armaments issues should be seen as a part of the EU's efforts to meet capability shortfalls under the European Capability Action Plan (ECAP). As such, any co-operation would respect the principles of ECAP, in particular voluntary compliance, transparency and avoidance of duplication.

  • The collective experience of the national armaments directors (NADs) is highly valuable and should be drawn upon in a practical way to advance progress under ECAP. As a first step, NADs should be kept fully briefed on progress of those ECAP working groups where a procurement solution looks likely.

  • NADs should offer advice, including participation where appropriate, to the ECAP working groups on how best to achieve a procurement solution. To do this effectively, NADs should continue to share views on a range of innovative approaches to procurement, for example leasing or involvement of private finance in partnership with public funds.

  • Defence industry in Europe plays an important role in achieving procurement solutions to ECAP shortfalls. The industry should continue to be briefed on the objectives and progress of ECAP.

  • In order to facilitate the improvement of the technological base of defence in Europe, it is necessary to encourage a suitable level of research and technology investments and co-operation which will narrow the gaps with other countries."

  • CRISIS MANAGEMENT

    The Council discussed crisis management in the Western Balkans, including the future EU Police Mission in Bosnia and Herzegovina (EUPM) as well as the possible mission in the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia for which the Barcelona European Council has expressed the EU's availability. The Secretary-General/High Representative briefed the Council on preparations for EUPM and on the state of play concerning the implementation of the political agreement in FYROM. The Council also addressed the question of permanent arrangements between the EU and NATO in the context of the current efforts by the Presidency and the SG/HR to ensure a positive outcome on this issue as mandated by the Barcelona European Council.

    On 14 May the Defence Ministers met with their counterparts from the candidate countries and non-EU European allies in 15 + 15 (EU + candidate countries and non-EU European allies) and 15 + 6 (EU + non-EU European allies) formats.

    WESTERN BALKANS

    • 2002 ANNUAL COUNCIL REVIEW OF THE STABILISATION AND ASSOCIATION PROCESS FOR SOUTH EASTERN EUROPE - Council Conclusions

    "The Council conducted its annual review of the Stabilisation and Association Process for South Eastern Europe (SAP), covering Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, in line with its 9 April 2001 conclusions. It welcomed the European Commission's first annual report on the SAP, and fully endorsed its recommendations.

    Recalling its Conclusions of 29 April 1997 on the regional approach and of 21 June 1999 on the SAP, as well as the final declaration of the Zagreb summit of 24 November 2000, the Council confirmed that the SAP, including its strategic objectives, its economic and political conditions and its instruments remains at the heart of EU's policy towards the region. It confirmed the SAP countries status as potential candidates for membership.

    The Council, including through the SG/HR and the Special Representatives, will continue to support this process, fostering a stable and secure environment. In this context, the EU took the decision to launch a Police Mission in Bosnia and Herzegovina and has expressed the EU's availability to take responsibility, following election in FYROM and at the request of its government, for an operation to follow that currently undertaken by NATO in FYROM, on the understanding that the permanent arrangements on EU and NATO cooperation ("Berlin plus") would be in place by then.

    The Council underlined that the SAP is a long-term policy approach in support of sustainable and EU compatible reform, as it helps the countries of the region prepare for integration with the EU. The speed with which each country moves through the different stages of the SAP, taking ownership of the process, depends on its increasing ability to take on the obligations flowing from an ever closer association with the EU as well as compliance with the conditionality policy defined by the Council on 29 April 1997.

    The Council called on the SAP countries to devote adequate attention and resources to the implementation of all EU recommendations, made in its Annual Reviews. It invited the Commission to assess progress on its recommendations at its next annual review in March 2003. The existing joint bodies within the SAP will contribute to the ongoing stocktaking.

    GENERAL ASSESSMENT

    While noting with satisfaction that the SAP has become a driving force for political, democratic and economic reforms within the individual countries, the Council restated that the strengthening of the regional dimension and reinforced regional cooperation were necessary and went hand in hand with the rapprochement to the European Union. As potential candidates, the countries of the region should build on recent progress in their relations and demonstrate their willingness and ability to interact with their neighbours.

    The Council, in this regard, welcomed the increased emphasis on complementarity of the SAP and Stability Pact activities. The Council reaffirmed that the main added value of the Stability Pact lies in its ability to promote regional cooperation, inter alia in the fields of refugee return, media, trade, investment and infrastructure, and combating organised crime. The Council also welcomed the important contributions by other relevant regional initiatives, such as the Central European Initiative, the South Eastern Europe Cooperation Process and the Adriatic Initiative, to enhance regional co-operation.

    The Council further noted that there was an urgent need for all SAP countries to focus more on justice and home affairs issues, notably strengthening the rule of law and the judicial system, the fight against corruption, illegal migration and organised crime. It emphasised that these problems, if left unresolved, would undermine the creation of a sustainable economy and might become a destabilising factor in the countries concerned as well as in the region as a whole.

    The Council also stressed the importance for the SAP countries to align their visa and entry policies with current EU standards, and invited them to pursue and intensify the co-operation initiated with the 28 March 2001 Sarajevo Joint Declaration regarding regional co-operation in the area of asylum and immigration. The Council called on all Governments and authorities in the region to increase their efforts, including conducting the necessary reforms, adopting the appropriate laws and strengthening their implementation capacity.

    Noting the importance of a better understanding of the SAP by the people of the region, its conditions and obligations as well as its perspectives, the Council agreed that a greater EU public information effort is needed in coordination with the authorities of the countries concerned. It called upon the SAP countries to redouble their efforts in this regard. It underlined the special contribution of civil society in bringing out this message. The Council expressed the belief that the implementation of the necessary reforms would be greatly assisted by a clearer perception and understanding throughout all levels of society in the SAP countries of the aims behind the steps and efforts requested in moving towards the EU. It also recalled its "Guidelines for strengthening operational co-ordination between the Community, represented by the Commission, and the Member States in the field of External assistance", approved on 21 January 2001.

    The Council recalled its Conclusions of 9 April and 11 June 2001 regarding the instruments of the SAP and agreed that there should be an evaluation of the effectiveness and coherence of the SAP instruments - EC assistance, preparation and implementation of Stabilisation and Association Agreements and autonomous trade measures - in reaching the objectives of the process. Such analysis should include the overall impact of EC assistance and how best to use it to advance the EU´s overall policy, in coordination with other donors. It underlined the substantial contribution that EC assistance under the CARDS regulation was already making to the development of the region and the need to adequately use its inherent conditionality. It further underlined the importance of annual reporting requirements under the CARDS and European Agency for Reconstruction regulations. The Council also noted the generous level of trade preferences granted to the region and invited its competent bodies to examine ways to ensure that the SAP countries benefit fully from those preferences. The Council invited the Commission to examine these issues in the next Annual Report on the SAP.

    The Council agreed to propose that a new high level political forum the Zagreb Process be established between the EU and the SAP countries. In this context it agreed to hold regular meetings at Ministerial level to discuss key issues of common concern. The aim is to give a clear signal of the privileged relationship between SAP participants and the EU, to enhance the political visibility of the SAP, to provide a supporting political framework for achieving the objectives of the SAP, including regional cooperation, and to inform and associate the SAP countries on major developments in the EU.

    The Council also agreed to propose to hold meetings of EU Ministers of Justice and Home Affairs with the countries of the SAP.

    The Council welcomed the readiness expressed by the Greek government to organise, during its Presidency of the EU, a high level meeting between EU Member States and SAP countries, as a follow-up to the Zagreb Summit. The Council is convinced that this meeting will give further impetus to the cooperation of the EU with its partners in the region.

    INDIVIDUAL ASSESSMENT OF THE SAP COUNTRIES

    The Council welcomed the country assessments annexed to the Commission's report endorsing the recommendations for the next 12 months for each SAP country and calling for swift progress on each of them. The implementation of legal reforms, the development of functioning and democratically accountable administrations and moving towards market economies, respect for democratic principles and human rights, and full implementation of international obligations, including cooperation with ICTY, as outlined in the individual country assessments, are vital for the States ability to continue on the path towards European integration.

    • Albania

    The Council welcomed the new Government's commitment to quickly re-focus on the needed reforms and accelerate their implementation, and confirmed its previous conclusions of 10 December 2001 and 28 January 2002 on the opening as soon as possible of negotiations of a Stabilisation and Association Agreement (SAA). It called upon the Albanian authorities and parties to strengthen further the country's administrative and judicial capacities as well as fully functioning democratic institutions. It expressed the importance of a stable and democratic political environment and the hope that the next presidential election would be conducted in such a manner that would preserve political stability. Further progress on the ODHIR recommendations on election management, implementation of the rule of law including the development of a national strategy on judicial reform, the fight against corruption, organised crime and trafficking, including in human beings, and the restructuring of the energy sector as established by the joint recommendations of the CTF, must be very promptly achieved.

    • Bosnia and Herzegovina

    The Council welcomed the accession of BiH to the Council of Europe as the 44th member and called for the rapid implementation of post accession criteria. Recalling its readiness to invite the Commission to undertake a Feasibility Study as soon as the conditions laid out in the EU Road Map are fulfilled, the Council called upon the BiH authorities, at state and entity level, to take full responsibility for moving BiH decisively forward within the SAP in line with its neighbours as wished by the EU. Were BiH to muster the political will and ownership recently demonstrated in amending the entity constitutions, the Road Map could be quickly completed and BiH could make progress in becoming a fully functioning self-sustaining State able to integrate into European structures. To this end, priority should be given to the strengthening of the rule of law in line also with the plan currently being prepared by the High Representative Petritsch, to economic reforms including the single BiH market and empowering state institutions. The adequate attribution of resources by the BiH authorities towards the sustainability of refugee and IDP return is necessary. Full compliance with the international obligation to cooperate with ICTY, notably by the RS, remains a crucial underpinning of all other efforts.

    • Croatia

    The Council commended the Government for the progress in its efforts to meet EU's political and economic conditions. It underlined the need for a successful implementation of the recently signed SAA, to move closer to Europe. The Council stressed the need for Croatia to address the continuing shortcomings of the judicial system and the resulting law enforcement problems in order not to threaten the results of the economic, political and social reform. It also stressed the importance of creating a business environment conducive to growth. Full co-operation with ICTY as well as issues related to the implementation of the Dayton/Paris Accord, to Croatian Serb refugee return and minority rights, including the passing of the constitutional law for the protection of minorities, are matters that must be properly addressed. The Council in particular welcomed the recent steps undertaken by Croatia to normalise its relations with the FRY and it encouraged Croatia to continue to enhance its co-operation with all its neighbours since regional cooperation is one of the essential elements of the SAP.

    • Federal Republic of Yugoslavia

    The Council underlined the priority for the country to quickly implement the 14 March Agreement on Proceeding Points for the Restructuring of Relations between Serbia and Montenegro, in particular the efficient functioning of a single economic space within the state. The Council expressed the hope that, following further meetings of the Consultative Task Force, conditions will soon permit the carrying out of a feasibility study and that progress will facilitate a prompt decision on the opening of negotiations for an SAA.

    The fulfilment of the FRY's international legal obligations, notably full co-operation with ICTY and respect of the Dayton/Paris Accords, as well as the affirmation of civilian control over the military are vital elements for the state's ability to continue on the path towards European integration. Restructuring of the energy, transport and telecommunications sectors should be given urgent attention.

    The Council called on Belgrade and UNMIK, together with the Provisional Institutions for Self-Government of Kosovo, to work resolutely, on the basis of the Constitutional Framework and the Common Document, within their respective competencies, toward the objectives of the SAP within the framework of UN Security Council Resolution 1244.

    • Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia

    The Council noted that it was essential, after the serious crises the country faced in 2001, to rebuild the necessary consensus and stability needed for the reform efforts to move ahead. While noting the progress made in implementing the Ohrid Framework Agreement since last October, the Council reiterated its call on all parties to rapidly implement it fully, including the return of the police, the strengthening of local government, the holding of free and fair general elections and a census, to refrain from violence and to implement fully the amnesty law. The complete implementation of the agreement should be seen as a prerequisite for further European integration. The Council called on the authorities to continue to address the problem of corruption, especially in view of the ongoing privatisation process. It also stressed the importance of respect for human rights and freedom of the media. The Council called on the authorities to urgently ensure an efficient coordination of foreign aid. It felt that every effort should be made over the next months to refocus the attention on the EC/FYROM Interim Agreement in order for FYROM to continue on its path towards Europe."

    • DANUBE COOPERATION PROCESS - Council Conclusions

    "The European Union welcomed the convening by Austria, Romania, the European Commission and the Stability Pact of a Ministerial meeting of the countries of the Danube basin in Vienna, 27 May 2002, launching the Danube Cooperation Process. In this context, the European Union welcomed the progress in implementing the Danube Commission's project to clear the Danube at Novi Sad, where the restoration of free navigation can be expected by September 2002. EC financial support and contributions by some EU Member States, as well as the technical and political efforts of the European Commission and the Austrian Presidency of the Danube Commission, have been key to achieving progress."

    RELATIONS WITH IRAN

    The Council, reiterating its continued support for the process of reform and its willingness to strengthen relations between the EU and Iran, evaluated progress in EU-Iran relations and had an initial exchange of views on a Commission recommendation for a negotiating mandate for a Trade and Cooperation Agreement with Iran.

    The Council noted that broad agreement existed on the substance and objectives of the overall approach for developing relations with Iran; as well as commercial matters these should include a serious dialogue on questions such as terrorism, proliferation and regional stability. It accordingly instructed the Permanent Representatives Committee to examine all the relevant elements put forward in the debate so that the General Affairs Council is in a position to take a decision at its June session.

    ANGOLA - Council Conclusions

    "The Council expresses its satisfaction with the encouraging developments in Angola following the signing by the Angolan Armed Forces and Unita forces, on 4 April 2002, of a Memorandum of Understanding that lead to an inclusive cease fire. The Council welcomes the commitment of the Angolan Government and Unita to comply with its provisions and their declared determination to work towards the completion of the Lusaka Protocol, in close co-operation with the United Nations and the "troika" of observers.

    The Council notes that the tasks lying ahead in the Peace Process including the demobilisation and quartering of Unita soldiers, their reintegration in the armed forces, police and in the civil society, the demining of the territory, the resolution of the dramatic humanitarian situation, require the mobilisation of the Government, Unita and other political parties, as well as civil society, NGO's and international community. The Council also notes that the reconstruction and rehabilitation of infra-structures will further require the close co-ordination of the Government of Angola with the IFIs.

    The Council, while expressing its support for the initiatives already taken by the Government of Angola aimed at giving a proper and solid response to those tasks, calls upon the Government to allocate the necessary resources to that purpose and do its utmost to assist humanitarian access logistically and in terms of security.

    At this decisive moment for the peace perspectives in Angola, the Council welcomes the Commission's intention to contribute to the alleviation of the humanitarian situation as well as to assist the different phases of the Peace Process, and expresses its willingness to support the efforts of the Angolan people to bring lasting peace, stability and sustainable development to the country."

    ITEMS APPROVED WITHOUT DEBATE

    The documents whose references are given are available on the Council's Internet site http://consilium.europa.eu/ . Acts adopted with statements for the Council minutes which may be released to the public are indicated by an asterisk; these statements may be obtained from the Press Office or by following the procedure indicated on the Internet site.

    EXTERNAL RELATIONS

    Relations with Russia

    The Council established the position of the European Union for the special meeting of the Cooperation Committee with Russia on Kaliningrad in Svetlogorsk on 15 May 2002, and took note of the state of play of preparations in view of the EU-Russia Summit in Moscow on 29 May 2002.

    In view of the preparation of these meetings, the Council furthermore agreed on the terms of reference on the question of movement and transit of people to and from Kaliningrad.

    Relations with Mexico

    (doc. 7576/02)

    The Council established the position of the European Union for the EU-Mexico Joint Council on 13 May 2002 (see also separate press release UE-MX 3855/02). It also adopted its position on two decisions to be taken by the Joint Council which accelerate the elimination of custom duties on certain products listed in Annexes I and II of Decision No 2/2000 of the EC-Mexico Joint Council.

    Romania - participation in the Fiscalis programme

    (doc. 8566/02)

    The Council agreed for the EU-Romania Association Council to adopt, by means of the written procedure, a decision on the terms and conditions for Romania's participation in the Fiscalis programme The Fiscalis programme is a Community action aimed at improving the indirect taxation systems under the internal market.

    ACP-EC Partnership Agreement - Extension of transitional measures

    The Council has decided to propose that the ACP-EC Council of Ministers adopt a decision extending transitional measures until such time as the ACP-EC Partnership Agreement enters into force.

    As of 22 April 2002, 44 ACP States and 5 EU Member States have deposited their instruments of ratification. It is recalled that the ratification process is deemed to have been fulfilled when two-thirds (51) of the ACP States and all 15 EU Member States have deposited their instruments of ratification. The date on which the last of these countries ratifies determines the date of entry into force of the Cotonou Agreement (the first day of the second month following the date of deposit of the instruments of ratification).

    Albania - Operation of the EU Monitoring Mission

    (doc. 8440/02)

    Following the Joint Action on the European Union Monitoring Mission adopted on 29 November 2001, the Council has authorised the Presidency, assisted by the Commission as appropriate to open negotiations with the Republic of Albania in order to conclude an agreement in accordance with Article 24 TEU on the activities of EUMM in Albania. This agreement should replace, as far as the EU and Albania are concerned, the Memorandum of Understanding of 21 December 1992 on the EC Monitoring Mission in the area of the border of Albania with the former Yugoslavia, updated as necessary to take account of subsequent changes to the mandate of the monitoring mission, as well as providing for the establishment of an EUMM office in Tirana.

    Implementation of the Göteborg programme

    The Council took note of a document on "Implementing the Göteborg EU programme for the Prevention of violent conflicts: a systematic approach to conflict prevention". The aim is to mobilise the EU's multiple analysis and information resources, thereby enabling the Political and Security Committee to make timely and operational recommendations to the Council and to ensure appropriate follow-up to the decisions taken.

    Scientific and technological cooperation between the EC and Chile

    (doc. 8172/02)

    The Council adopted a decision authorising the signature, on behalf of the European Community, of the Agreement for scientific and technological cooperation between the Community and the Republic of Chile. This agreement, to be concluded for an initial period of five years, is aimed at encouraging, developing and facilitating cooperative research and development activities in science and technology fields of common interest between the Community and Chile.

    ESDP

    Consultation and Co-operation with Canada, Russia and Ukraine

    The Council adopted decisions concerning arrangements for consultation and co-operation on crisis management between the EU and Canada, the Russian Federation and Ukraine respectively. These decisions follow from the provisions of the December 2000 Nice European Council conclusions concerning consultation and co-operation with these countries. They cover arrangements in non-crisis periods and in periods of crisis, including the pre-operational and operational phases as well as the participation in the Committee of Contributors.

    EUROPEAN ECONOMIC AREA

    The Council approved the following draft decisions put forward by the EEA Joint Committee:

    • a draft decision amending Annex XXI (Statistics) to the EEA Agreement (doc. 7898/02) to bring it into line with the "acquis" recently adopted on statistical returns of the carriage of goods by road and in order to ensure legal certainty and uniformity;

    • a draft decision amending Annex XXI (Statistics on external trade) to the EEA Agreement by adding recently adopted "acquis" in the field of statistics (doc. 7902/02);

    • a draft decision amending Protocol 31 to the EEA Agreement, to extend the cooperation in the field of environment (doc. 7903/02) in order to include participation in the Community framework for cooperation to promote sustainable urban development;

    APPOINTMENTS

    Committee of the Regions

    (doc. 8468/02)

    The Council adopted a Decision appointing Ms Monika HELBIG as a full member of the Committee of the Regions in place of Mr André SCHMITZ and Ms Gesine LÖTZSCH as an alternate member in place of Ms Maria KRAUTZBERGER for the remainder of their terms of office, which run until 25 January 2006.

    TRANSPARENCY

    Public access to Council documents

    (doc. 8339/02).

    The Conseil has responded to the fourth confirmatory application made by Mr Steve PEERS in 2002 (the Danish and Swedish delegations voting against).

    (1) Where declarations, conclusions or resolutions have been formally adopted by the Council, this is indicated in the heading for the item concerned and the text is placed between quotation marks.


  • Side Bar