Brussels, 31 July 2002
11330/02 (Presse 221)
Decisions adopted by written procedure (25 july 31 july 2002)
GENERAL AFFAIRS AND EXTERNAL RELATIONS
Iraq - Regulation on the new embargo regime
On 26 July 2002, the Council adopted by written procedure a Regulation (11024/02) which implements, for matters falling under Community competence, the common position adopted on 22 July at the General Affairs Council concerning the derogations from the embargo following the adoption of UN Security Council Resolution 1409. The latter provides for a new regime of derogations based on a Goods Review List and simplified procedures for its application.
UN Security Council Resolution 1373 ¯ Supplementary report by the EU
On 26 July 2002, the Council adopted by written procedure a supplementary report by the European Union, drafted by the Presidency with the Commission, to the Committee established under paragraph 6 of the Security Council Resolution 1373 (2001) (fight against terrorism). That report brings supplementary information and extends the first report which the European Union had submitted on 28 December 2001, listing the measures taken by the Union to implement that Resolution.
CCEE Restructuring of the steel sector
On 29 July 2002, the Council agreed by written procedure to extend by eight years (or until accession) the period during which Poland, the Czech Republic, Bulgaria and Romania will be authorised to grant public aid to the restructuring of their steel industries. In the case of Poland (UE-PL 1413/02), that will be decided by the EU-Poland Association Council by written procedure, in the case of the Czech Republic (10752/02 and 10825/02), Bulgaria (10753/02 and 10827/02) and Romania (10754/02 and 10829/02), by the signing of Additional Protocols to the Europe Agreements. The extension is valid retroactively from 1 January 1997 in the case of Poland and the Czech Republic, and from 1 January 1998 for Bulgaria and Romania.
It is recalled that most of the Europe Agreements with the ten countries of Central and Eastern Europe (CCEE) include a protocol on "ECSC steel" products (Protocol 2). One of the provisions of that Protocol stipulates that during the first five years following the entry into force of the Agreement, the associated countries may grant public aid for restructuring, subject to a certain number of conditions. As that first period came to an end, Poland, the Czech Republic, Bulgaria and Romania requested an extension, in the belief that aid was still necessary. The Commission had proposed extending the arrangement, given the forthcoming accession of these countries and the urgency of restructuring the steel sector.
Hungary - further trade liberalisation in agricultural products
On 29 July 2002, the Council adopted by written procedure a Regulation establishing concessions in the form of Community tariff quotas for certain agricultural products and providing for an adjustment, as an autonomous and transitional measure, of certain agricultural concessions provided for in the Europe Agreement with Hungary (10759/02).
The Europe Agreements with the 10 countries of Central and Eastern Europe provide for the progressive liberalisation of trade in agricultural products with a view to these countries' future accession to the Community. An initial round of negotiations took place in 1999, the outcome of which was applied between July 2000 and 2001 as autonomous and transitional measures.
A second round of negotiations, with the aim of extending the scope of trade liberalisation still further by the simultaneous abolition of customs duties and export refunds, was begun in early 2002. The outcome of these negotiations with Hungary will need to be inserted as an Additional Protocol to the Europe Agreement. In view of the procedural timetable for the entry into force of such a Protocol, the Commission suggested that the Council should apply the concessions agreed on an autonomous and transitional basis by means of a regulation. The regulation, adopted on 29 July, will apply from 1 July 2002. It will be replaced by the new Protocol when this comes into force. It is recalled that the three Baltic states (Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania) have recently been granted similar concessions.
ECONOMIC AND FINANCIAL AFFAIRS
Fiscalis programme 2003-2007
On 26 July 2002, the Council adopted by written procedure its Common Position with a view to the adoption of a Decision of the European Parliament and of the Council adopting a Community Programme to improve the operation of taxation systems in the internal market (Fiscalis programme 2003-2007) (10612/02).
The purpose of the Decision is to provide for the continuation of the current Fiscalis programme (1) for a new five-year period (1 January 2003 to 31 December 2007) as well as for its extension, in particular to direct taxation. Furthermore, the programme will now be open to candidate and associated countries.
The activities of the programme will consist of:
communication and information-exchange systems;
multilateral controls involving Member States and those candidate countries which have bilateral or multilateral agreements either with one another or with Member States permitting such activity;
any other working meetings, visits or similar activities in the context of the programme's objectives which shall be decided on a case-by-case basis.
Community's accession to Eurocontrol
On 31 July 2002, the Council adopted by written procedure the Decision on the signature of the Protocol of accession of the Community to the European Organisation for the Safety of Air Navigation (Eurocontrol) and its provisional application before its entry into force (9771/02).
The Community's accession to Eurocontrol ¯ a body set up by an international convention in 1960 ¯ forms part of the broader context of the creation of a Single European Sky within the European Union, with the objective of increasing effectiveness in the area of air traffic control.
The adoption of that Decision will enable the signing of the Accession Protocol at a diplomatic conference, if possible before the Transport, Telecommunications and Energy Council of 3 and 4 October. Its provisional application will begin on the first day of the month following signature.
For areas under Community competence, the Commission will present the Community's position in Eurocontrol discussions, and will vote on the Community's behalf. That position shall be prepared by the appropriate Council working party and, if necessary, at ad hoc meetings.
Public access to documents
On 29 July 2002 the Council adopted by written procedure the replies to
1. a confirmatory application made by Mr S. Peers (10691/02);
2. a confirmatory application by Mr J. Wuermeling (the Danish, Finnish and Swedish delegations voting against) (11123/02).
(1) Decision Nº 888/98 of the European Parliament and of the Council (OJ L 126, 28.4.1998, p. 1).