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C/03/164

Luxembourg, 11 June 2003

10272/03 (Presse 164)

2516th Council meeting - Agriculture and Fisheries - Luxembourg, 11-12-17-18-19-25-26 June 2003

President :

Mr Georgios DRYS

Minister for Agriculture of the Hellenic Republic

CONTENTS (1)

PARTICIPANTS 4

ITEMS DEBATED

AGRICULTURE 6

CAP REFORM: A LONG-TERM POLICY PERSPECTIVE FOR SUSTAINABLE AGRICULTURE 6

CONTROL OF FOOT-AND-MOUTH DISEASE 7

FISHERIES 8

WESTERN WATERS 8

OTHER BUSINESS 9

     4th MINISTERIAL CONFERENCE ON THE PROTECTION OF FORESTS IN EUROPE (Vienna, 28-30 April 2003) 9

ITEMS APPROVED WITHOUT DEBATE

AGRICULTURE

  • BSE risk - Public Deliberation I

  • Transport of animals - use of staging points * I

  • Control on movements of ovine and caprine animals I

  • EC-Swiss Confederation - Joint Veterinary Committee - Rules of procedure I

  • EC-Andorra - Protocol on veterinary matters II

  • Seeds * II

  • Cereals II

FOODSTUFFS

  • Sweeteners for use in foodstuffs - Public Deliberation II

FISHERIES

  • External Fisheries Policy - Fishing in Mauritian waters III

  • TACs and Quotas * III

  • Removal of fins of sharks on board vessels * III

ENVIRONMENT

  • Halons, chlorofluorocarbons, bromochloromethane - Public Deliberation III

INTERNAL MARKET

  • Company Law * - Public deliberation V

HEALTH

  • Drug dependence - Recommendation V

TRANSPORT

  • Second railway package * - Public Deliberation VI

EXTERNAL RELATIONS

  • Cooperation with China on peaceful uses of nuclear energy VI

EUROPEAN SECURITY AND DEFENCE POLICY

  • Launch of the EU military operation in the Democratic Republic of Congo VII

Trade Policy

  • Czech Republic Latvia Lithuania Slovakia Slovenia Agricultural products VII

ECOFIN

  • Broad Guidelines of the Economic Policies of the Member States and the Community VII

  • (2003-2005) VII

  • Economic and Financial Committee / Economic Policy Committee VIII

  • Community bodies VIII

JUSTICE AND HOME AFFAIRS

  • EU Drugs Action Plan VIII

  • Drug dependencies within the national health care - Resolution IX

  • Education curricula on substance misuse disorders - Resolution XI

  • Young people using drugs - Resolution XII

PARTICIPANTS

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

Belgium :

Ms Annemie NEYTS-UYTTEBROEKMinister, attached to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, with responsibility for Agriculture
Mr José HAPPARTMinister for Agriculture and Rural Affairs (Walloon Region)
Mr Ludo SANNENFlemish Minister for Agriculture, Environment and Development Cooperation
Denmark :
Ms Mariann FISCHER BOELMinister for Food, Agriculture and Fisheries
Mr Poul OTTOSENState Secretary, Ministry for Food, Agriculture and Fisheries
Germany :
Ms Renate KÜNASTFederal Minister for Consumer Protection, Food and Agriculture
Mr Alexander MÜLLERState Secretary, Federal Ministry of Consumer Protection, Food and Agriculture
Greece :
Mr Georgios DRYSMinister for Agriculture
Spain :
Mr Miguel ARIAS CAÑETEMinister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food
France :
Mr Hervé GAYMARDMinister for Agriculture, Food, Fisheries and Rural Affairs
Ireland :
Mr Joe WALSHMinister for Agriculture and Food
Mr Dermot AHERNMinister for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources
Italy :
Mr Giovanni ALEMANNOMinister for Agricultural and Forestry Policy
Luxembourg :
Mr Fernand BODENMinister for Agriculture, Viticulture and Rural Development
Netherlands :
Mr Cees VEERMAN Minister for Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality
Austria :
Mr Joseph PRÖLLFederal Minister for Agriculture, Forestry, the Environment and Water Management
Portugal :
Mr Armando SEVINATE PINTOMinister for Agriculture, Rural Development and Fisheries
Mr Luís FRAZÃO GOMESState Secretary for Fisheries, attached to the Minister for Agriculture, Rural Development and Fisheries
Finland :
Mr Juha KORKEAOJAMinister for Agriculture and Forestry
Sweden :
Ms Ann-Christin NYKVISTMinister for Agriculture, Food and Fisheries
Ms Ingrid PETERSSONState Secretary, Ministry for Agriculture, Food and Fisheries

United Kingdom :

Ms Margaret BECKETTSecretary of State for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Mr Eliott MORLEYParliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Mr Ross FINNIEMinister for Environment and Rural Development (Scottish Executive)
Mr Carwyn JONESMinister for Rural Affairs (Welsh Assembly)
Mr Ian PEARSONParliamentary Under-Secretary of State with responsibility for Agriculture and Rural Development (Northern Ireland)
* * *
Commission :
Mr Franz FISCHLERMember
Mr David BYRNEMember

The Governments of the Acceding States were represented as follows:

Czech Republic :

Mr Jaroslav PALASMinister for Agriculture
Estonia :
Mr Tiit TAMMSAARMinister for Agriculture
Cyprus :
Mr Michael CONSTANTINIDESPermanent Secretary, Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment
Latvia :
Mr Martins ROZEMinister for Agriculture
Lithuania :
Mr Jeronimas KRAUJELISMinister for Agriculture
Hungary :
Mr Imre NÉMETHMinister for Agriculture and Rural Affairs
Malta:
Mr George PULLICINOMinister for Rural Affairs and the Environment
Poland :
Mr Jerzy PLEWAUnder-State Secretary of Agriculture
Slovakia :
Mr Zsolt SIMONMinister for Agriculture
Slovenia :
Mr Franc BUTMinister for Agriculture

ITEMS DEBATED

AGRICULTURE

CAP REFORM: A LONG-TERM POLICY PERSPECTIVE FOR SUSTAINABLE AGRICULTURE

After an arduous negotiation, the Council reached political agreement by qualified majority on the reform of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), on the basis of a compromise text from the Presidency. The Portuguese delegation was unable to join the agreement. The different legislative drafts will be finalised at a later stage and shall be adopted at a forthcoming Council meeting.

In order to make the European Agricultural Model a reality, the Council decided that the reform of the CAP should be substantial, in line with the objectives of Agenda 2000, completing the reform process in some areas, and establishing a stable framework in others.

The compromise is in accordance with the overall budgetary framework for the enlarged Union set until 2013. The Commission will propose in due time the measures necessary to extend this reform to the new Member States.

With this reform the Council is sending a strong message to European farmers, European citizens and the world, in particular the developing countries. Moreover, it responds to the demands for healthy food, more quality, environment and animal-friendly production methods, the maintenance of natural living conditions and the care of the countryside.

The reformed CAP is aimed at, inter alia, offering European farmers a clear planning framework for their business decisions, enhancing their entrepreneurial function to produce what the consumers and the market want.

It constitutes an important contribution to the Doha Development Agenda (DDA) and sets the framework for the Union's negotiations in the World Trade Organisation (WTO) Round.

Key elements of the agreement include, inter alia:

    a single farm payment (SFP) for Union farmers, independent from production (limited coupled elements may be maintained to avoid abandonment of production);

    linkage of SFP to the respect of environmental, food safety, animal and health and animal welfare standards, as well as the requirements to keep all farmland in good agricultural and environmental condition ("cross-compliance");

    a strengthened rural development policy with more Union money, new measures to promote the environment, quality and animal welfare and to help farmers to meet Union production standards starting in 2005;

    a reduction in direct payments ("modulation") for bigger farms to finance the new rural development policy;

    an agreement on financial discipline to ensure that the farm budget fixed until 2013 is not exceeded;

    revisions to the market policy of the CAP, such as:

    • asymmetric price cuts in the milk sector (intervention price for butter reduced by 25% over four years and for skimmed milk powder by 15% over three years);

    • reduction of the monthly increments in the cereals sector by half (current intervention price is maintained);

    • reforms in the rice, durum wheat, nuts, starch potatoes and dried fodder sectors;

    introduction of reforms regarding the so-called Mediterranean products (e.g. olive oil, tobacco, cotton) expected to take place by September 2003, within the existing budgetary framework.

CONTROL OF FOOT-AND-MOUTH DISEASE

The Council reached political agreement on the proposal for a Council Directive on Community measures for the control of foot-and-mouth disease (doc. 15831/02), on the basis of an amended proposal, unanimously endorsed by the Commission and by the Member States.

Two issues were addressed at the Council on 8 April 2003 (doc. 7434/03):

    1) The recognition by third countries of the new approach of the proposal for a Directive, which emphasises the role of emergency vaccination and the principle of regionalisation.

    2) The financial consequences, both direct like the use of preventive vaccination on animals, and indirect, like the marketing of products derived from vaccinated animals.

Both of these two issues above-mentioned have been solved, paving the way for a political agreement. The last changes brought to the initial proposal, which include many of the EP's amendments concern some additional restrictions to the movement and transport of animals and their product in the protection zone, a better information to the public on products from vaccinated animals.

This follows a first presentation by Commissioner BYRNE of the proposal at the Council on 27 January (doc. 5433/03).

The proposal aims at laying down harmonised provisions on Community measures:

  • to control FMD in the event of an outbreak by setting common provisions for Member States in case of FMD's suspicion and

  • to improve the state of preparation of the Member States in case of a possible outbreak of FMD,

by enhancing in particular the role of emergency vaccination.

The new proposal provides more details on the measures to be taken in the event of an outbreak and gives a key role to emergency vaccination in order to avoid massive slaughters of animals in the framework of the disease control measures in certain specific circumstances. In case of suspicion of an outbreak of FMD, several measures are to be taken such as the census of animals of the suspected infected holding by the competent authority, the prohibition of movements onto and off the holding, and the establishment of a community databank for vaccines and antigens.

Measures in case of confirmation of an outbreak of FMD include the killing on the spot of animals of susceptible species on the holding, disinfecting procedures and tracing of products derived from or which have been in contact with suspicious animals. Conditions regarding the triggering of emergency vaccination are, among others, based on the potential risk that a FMD outbreak in one area of the EC could spread in another area due to its geographical situation or meteorological conditions.

The financial stakes of this proposal are high with regard to the Community contributions in the veterinary field (Council Decision 90/424/EEC of 26 June 1990). The share of the Community budget is estimated at 16.176 € Million over a ten-year period, split between financial intervention, technical and administrative assistance and human resources.

The Opinion of the European Parliament was given on 15 May 2003. The European Parliament adopted several amendments designed to ensure that emergency vaccination must be a good solution if an outbreak of FMD is suspected or confirmed. It also sought to achieve a shift in emphasis in EU policy to ensure that the social and psychological impact on the public of diseases like the FMD is addressed alongside purely commercial considerations.

Another important amendment adopted proposes that the decision to introduce emergency vaccination could be taken not only at the request of the Commission or of the Member State affected, but also by any neighbouring country at risk, provided that close co-operation has been undertaken with the Member State concerned.

FISHERIES

WESTERN WATERS

The Council took note of a progress report concerning the proposal on the management of fishing effort in relating to certain Community fishing areas and resources (doc.10405/03) and amending Regulation (EEC) nº2847/93. The Council instructed the Committee of Permanent Representatives to carry on with the examination at technical level in order to ensure an adoption of this dossier as soon as possible. This proposal, which was presented to the Council at its session on 16-20 December 2002 (doc. 15636/02), would replace former regulations relating to Western Waters.

These Regulations, which ceased to produce legal effects after 31 December 2002, aimed at ensuring there was no increase in the overall fishing effort within areas and stocks, on the basis of the Act of Accession of 1985 for Spain and Portugal. In particular they establish fishing effort limitation fixed by type of fishing and area, and evaluated on the basis of traditional fishing activities, except for the Spanish vessels (40 at any given time since 1996) for an area extending to 50 miles from Ireland's coast, known as the "Irish Box".

The proposal aims in particular at:

  • controlling the fishing effort to avoid discrimination among Member States;

  • reviewing current ceilings for fishing effort while taking into account the reduction of fishing

possibilities during the last seven years;

  • controlling fishing capacity for pelagic species and limiting access to waters in ultra-peripheral areas.

Under the advisory procedure (Article 37 of the Treaty), the Opinion of the European Parliament, which is not legally binding was given at its plenary session on 4 June 2003.

OTHER BUSINESS

  • 4th MINISTERIAL CONFERENCE ON THE PROTECTION OF FORESTS IN EUROPE (Vienna, 28-30 April 2003)

    The Austrian delegation submitted a written information (10120/03) on the outcome of the Fourth Ministerial Conference on the Protection of forests in Europe, Vienna 28-30 April 2003 (doc. 10120/03).

ITEMS APPROVED WITHOUT DEBATE

AGRICULTURE

BSE risk - Public Deliberation

The Council adopted a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council amending Regulation (EC) Nº 999/2001 as regards the extension of the period for transitional measures (doc. 3617/03).

Regulation (EC) Nº 999/2001 establishes rules for the determination the Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE) status of a Member State, third country or one of their regions. The Regulation provides that prior to the determination of that status, transitional measures are to be adopted for a maximum period of two years. Commission Regulation 1326/2001 laying down transitional measures to permit the changeover to Regulation 999/2001 applies from 1 July 2001. Therefore the transitional measures apply until 30 June 2003.

Certain problems have been encountered in using the criteria laid down in Regulation (EC) Nº 999/2001 to determine BSE status, with regard to the need to define new categorisation criteria reflecting BSE risk. Scientific risk assessments of all countries have not been fully concluded. The Commission has discussed, with Member States, possible amendments to those criteria in order to produce a better alignment of status and risk. Consequently, Regulation (EC) Nº 999/2001 is being extended till 1 July 2005.

Transport of animals - use of staging points *

The Council adopted, by a qualified majority, with the United Kingdom delegation abstaining, a Regulation amending Regulation (EC) Nº 1255/97 as regards the use of staging points (doc. 9473/03 + 9608/03 ADD1). The Regulation intends to reinforce the animal health rules (cleansing and disinfection) applicable to staging points following outbreaks of foot and mouth disease in the Community in 2001 linked with the commingling of animals at staging points. Only Animals complying with Community Health requirements may transit by staging points.

Control on movements of ovine and caprine animals

The Council adopted a Directive amending Directive 91/68/EEC as regards reinforcement of controls on movements of ovine and caprine animals (doc. 9471/03). This Directive should be implemented by Member States into national legislation before 1 July 2004. With regard to the recent outbreaks of foot and mouth disease in 2001 and the contamination of sheep and goats, controls by Member States of the registration and identification of ovine and caprine animals have been reinforced.

EC-Swiss Confederation - Joint Veterinary Committee - Rules of procedure

The Council adopted a Decision concerning the Community position on the adoption of the Rules of Procedure of the Joint Veterinary Committee set up by the Agreement between the European Community and the Swiss Confederation on trade in agricultural products (doc. 9108/03).

EC-Andorra - Protocol on veterinary matters

The Council adopted a draft Decision of the EC-Andorra Joint Committee laying down rules to further implement the Protocol on veterinary matters supplementary to the Agreement in the form of an Exchange of Letters between the European Community and the Andorra, signed in Brussels on 15 May 1997 (doc. 9480/03).

Seeds *

The Council adopted a Directive amending former Directives on the marketing of different categories of seeds (docs. 10012/03 + 9915/03 ADD1). The Directives amended include changes regarding Community comparative tests and trials, which will include in particular tests and trials for seed harvested in third countries, seed suitable for organic farming and seed marketed in relation to the conservation in situ and the sustainable use of plant genetic resources. These comparative tests and trials shall be used to harmonise the technical methods of certification. Member States shall implement this Directive into national legislation three months after its entry into force.

Cereals

The Council adopted a Decision establishing the Community position to be adopted in the International Grains Council and in the Food Aid Committee (doc. 10139/03). The purpose of this Decision is to authorise the Commission on behalf of the Community to vote in favour of the prolongation of the Food Aid Convention, 1999 and the Grains Trade Convention, 1995 for a period of two years.

The Grains Trade Convention 1995 was concluded by the Community by Council Decision 96/88/EC (2) 1, amended and extended in June 1999 for a two-year period. This Agreement was extended again by decision of the International Grains Council in June 2001 and remains in force until 30 June 2003, unless it is extended beyond that date for a period of no more than two years. The Food Aid Convention 1999 was concluded by the Community by Council Decision 2000/421/EC (3) 2 and extended by decision of the Food Aid Committee in December 2002.

The objectives of these Conventions are to promote international co-operation in the field of food aid, and establishing common data and statistics on the Grain markets.

FOODSTUFFS

Sweeteners for use in foodstuffs - Public Deliberation

The Council adopted its common position with a view to the adoption of a Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council amending Directive 94/35/EC on sweeteners for use in foodstuffs (doc. 9714/03 + 10422/03 ADD1 REV1).

FISHERIES

External Fisheries Policy - Fishing in Mauritian waters

The Council adopted a Decision on the signing, on behalf of the Community, and provisional application of the Agreement in the form of an Exchange of Letters concerning the extension of the Protocol setting out the fishing opportunities and financial contribution provided for in the Agreement between the European Community and the Government of Mauritius on fishing in Mauritian waters for the period 3 December 2002 to 2 December 2003 (doc. 9381/03).

The Decision extends fishing opportunities for some Member States (France, Italy, Spain, United Kingdom and Portugal) in Mauritian waters. These fishing opportunities are allocated between different sort of vessels (tuna seiners, surface longliners, vessels fishing by line).

TACs and Quotas *

The Council adopted a Regulation amending for the second time EC Regulation nº2341/2002 fixing for 2003 the fishing opportunities and associated conditions for certain fish stocks and groups of fish stocks, applicable in Community waters and, for Community vessels, in waters where limitations in catch are required (doc. 9894/03 + 9908/03 ADD 1). Amendments of the Regulation are required following decisions recently reached as a consequence of international Agreements:

The Regulation includes in particular an allocation of quotas between Norway and the European Community on sandeel fished by Norway in Community waters, a transfer of quotas on haddock and plaice for the European Community in the North Sea, new fishing access for the Community on herring in Norwegian waters and new fishing possibilities of capelin for the Community in Greenland waters.

Removal of fins of sharks on board vessels *

The Council adopted a Regulation on the removal of fins of sharks on board vessels (doc. 10255/03 + 10372/03 ADD1).

The Regulation will apply to the removal of shark fins, retention on board, transhipment and landing of sharks or shark fins by vessels in maritime waters under the sovereignty or the jurisdiction of Member States as well as those flying the flag or registered in Member States in other maritime waters. It aims at restricting or preventing the further development of the practice of shark finning as well as at prohibiting the removal of shark fins on board vessels with a view to having positive effects on shark conservation.

ENVIRONMENT

Halons, chlorofluorocarbons, bromochloromethane - Public Deliberation

The Council adopted in first reading, following agreement with the European Parliament in the beginning of June 2003, a Regulation on the control of halon exported for critical uses, the export of products and equipment containing chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) and controls on bromochloromethane. (doc. 3629/03)

The Regulation is aimed at further protecting the ozone layer, reducing global production of ozone depleting substances (ODS), promoting safe practices for the transport of ODS, ensuring mandatory monitoring of any exports and providing legal clarification where necessary.

It is aimed in particular at amending Regulation 2037/2000/EC on substances that deplete the ozone layer, namely with regard to the effective and safe implementation of its provisions.

One of the Regulation's major focus is to stop the growing export trade in used refrigeration and airconditioning equipment (in particular domestic refrigerators, freezers and building insulation foam, containing CFCs) to developing countries Therefore, the export of controlled substances, or products containing controlled substances, should be prohibited. Offtarget products containing CFCs (e.g. secondhand aircraft and vehicles containing rigid insulating foam, or integral skin foam blown with CFCs) are excluded from the scope of the Regulation.

It provides for the possibility of establishing timeframes for reducing the use of halon for critical uses, taking into account the availability of technically and economically feasible alternatives or technologies that are acceptable from the standpoint of environment and health, when reviewing Annex VII (critical uses of halon) of Regulation 2037/2000/EC. This would accelerate the recovery of the ozone layer.

Moreover, from 1 January 2004, only halon used for the purposes listed in Annex VII(4) of the above mentioned Regulation will be allowed to remain installed for firefighting in the Community. Any equipment containing halon that is not listed in that Annex will be considered "noncritical" and should therefore be decommissioned by 31 December 2003.

Bulk halon for export for critical uses will be allowed until 31 December 2009 as long as it is obtained from recovered, recycled and reclaimed halon that originates from storage facilities authorised or operated by the competent authority. If appropriate, and on the basis of a review, exports of bulk halon could be banned earlier than that date.

Exports of halons for critical uses should be prohibited after 31 December 2003, if the halon is not from facilities authorised or operated by the competent authority to store this kind of halon.

Finally, the Regulation provides for the same level of control to be applied to bromochloromethane as is applied to other controlled substances, bringing the Community in line with the obligations of the Montreal Protocol on Substances that deplete the Ozone Layer(5).

INTERNAL MARKET

Company Law * - Public deliberation

The Council adopted a Directive on disclosure requirements concerning certain types of companies following an agreement reached with the European Parliament in first reading under the co-decision procedure (doc. 3620/03 + 9462/03 ADD1).

The amendments agreed by the Council and the European Parliament concern mainly the delay for the implementation of the Directive's requirements that should be done not later than 1 January 2007.

The text is aimed at amending First Company's Directive for making company information more easily and rapidly accessible for interested parties by using modern technology for filing and disclosure of company documents. The Directive also simplifies significantly the

disclosure formalities imposed upon companies.

HEALTH

Drug dependence - Recommendation

The Council adopted a Recommendation, with the Italian delegation voting against, on the prevention and reduction of health-related harm associated with drug dependence (doc. 8069/03).

The draft Recommendation is part of the 2000-2004 drugs strategy, endorsed by the European Council at Helsinki in December 1999 with the aim of reducing the prevalence of illicit drug use, reducing substantially the incidence of drug-related health damage, and increasing substantially the number of successfully treated addicts. It calls on Member States to make available a range of different services and facilities, particularly aiming at risk reduction.

The text provides a number of specific recommendations with regard to information and counselling, outreach-work, peer involvement, emergency services, networks between agencies, integration of health and social care, and training and accreditation of professionals. Particular emphasis is placed on the prevention of drug-related infections (such as HIV, hepatitis B and C, tuberculosis and sexually transmitted diseases).

It is recalled that, the Council agreed on a general approach at its meeting on 2-3 December 2002, following the presentation of the proposal by the Commission on 26 June 2002. For further details, please consult press releases doc. 14892/02 and doc. 10090/02, respectively.

For the full text of the Recommendation, please consult doc. 8069/03 on the Council's website (http://consilium.europa.eu/en/summ.htm; link Access to documents).

TRANSPORT

Second railway package * - Public Deliberation

The Council adopted its Common positions on the "Second Railway Package", the Belgian, French and Luxembourg delegations voting against, establishing a single market for rail transport service. The Common positions will be forwarded to the European Parliament for a second reading, in accordance with the co-decision procedure.

This package includes the following legal texts:

  • the Directive on the interoperability of the trans-European rail system (doc. 8556/03);

  • the Directive on safety on the Community's railways(doc. 8557/03);

  • the Directive on the development of the Community's railways ("Market Access") (doc. 8011/03);

  • the Regulation establishing a European Railway Agency (doc. 8558/03).

It is recalled that, the Council reached political agreement on the common position at its meeting on 28 March 2003. For further details, please consult Press Release doc. 7685/03 on the Council's website (http://consilium.europa.eu/newsroom/; Council; Transport, Energy and Telecommunications).

EXTERNAL RELATIONS

Cooperation with China on peaceful uses of nuclear energy

The Council adopted a Decision authorising the Commission to negotiate an Agreement for cooperation on peaceful uses of nuclear energy between the European Atomic Energy Community and China.

Negotiating directives annexed to the Decision envisage that cooperation may cover:

  • Decommissioning, decontamination and dismantling of nuclear installations;

  • Management of radioactive waste;

  • Controlled thermonuclear fusion;

  • Radiation protection;

  • Other activities in the field of nuclear technologies and safety;

  • Activities of the EU's Joint Research Centre.

Cooperation would be conducted exclusively for peaceful purposes. Research and development of nuclear explosive devices would be specifically excluded.

EUROPEAN SECURITY AND DEFENCE POLICY

Launch of the EU military operation in the Democratic Republic of Congo

The Council adopted a Decision on the launching of the European Union military operation in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), operation "Artemis" (doc. 10200/03).

By its decision, the Council approved the Operation Plan and authorised the Operation Commander with immediate effect to release the activation order in order to execute the deployment of the forces, prior to transfer of authority following their arrival in theatre, and start execution of the mission. Operation Artemis is thereby launched on 12 June 2003.

This Decision follows the adoption by the Council on 5 June 2003 of a Joint Action on the EU military operation in the DRC.

"Artemis" is an EU-led military operation which will be conducted in accordance with the mandate set out in United Nations Security Council Resolution 1484 (2003). This Resolution authorises the deployment until 1 September 2003 of an interim emergency multinational force in Bunia (DRC). Under Resolution 1484, the aim of this multinational force is:

  • to contribute to the stabilisation of the security conditions and the improvement of the humanitarian situation in Bunia;

  • to ensure the protection of the airport, the internally displaced persons in the camps in Bunia and, if the situation requires it, to contribute to the safety of the civilian population, UN personnel and the humanitarian presence in the town.

Trade Policy

Czech Republic Latvia Lithuania Slovakia Slovenia Agricultural products

The Council adopted Regulations aimed at implementing, as from 1 July on a transitional basis, trade concessions agreed with the Czech Republic, Latvia, Lithuania, Slovakia and Slovenia regarding processed agricultural products (docs 9315/03, 9487/03, 9489/03, 9842/03 and 9841/03).

These agreements follow negotiations conducted by the Commission with all of the associated countries of Central and Eastern Europe with a view to increased liberalisation of trade in the agriculture sector.

ECOFIN

Broad Guidelines of the Economic Policies of the Member States and the Community

(2003-2005)

Following the endorsement by the Tessaloniki European Council on the 20-21 June, the Council, on the basis of the conclusions drew by this European Council, adopted the Broad Economic Policy Guidelines for the period 2003-2005 (doc. 10782/03).

It is recalled that the European Council drew particular attention to key policy priorities underlying the Broad Economic Policy Guidelines and the revised Employment Guidelines, as follows:

  • creating the best economic conditions to promote growth, firstly by delivering a stability-orientated macroeconomic framework which can provide a platform for increased domestic demand and job creation, and secondly by pursuing greater competitiveness and dynamism through investment in human and physical capital and R&D, through improving the economy-wide application of technology and exploitation of research, through fully integrated EU financial markets and through fostering entrepreneurship and improving the framework conditions for industry,

  • reforms to create more and better jobs in order to promote full employment, making labour markets more efficient, inclusive and adaptable, adapting tax and benefit systems to make work pay, increasing labour market participation in line with the Lisbon targets, promoting a new balance between flexibility and security, facilitating labour mobility and improving and updating skills to achieve higher productivity and better quality jobs, and

  • strengthening the sustainability of public finances in particular by further reducing government debt ratios and by reforming pension and health care systems now while the demographic window of opportunity is still open, thus ensuring that a massive burden is not left for future generations, as well as by increasing employment rates.

Economic and Financial Committee / Economic Policy Committee

The Council revised the Statutes of the Economic and Financial Committee and of the Economic Policy Committee with a view to enabling both two Committees to continue to work effectively after enlargement by adjusting their working methods (docs. 8750/03 + 9667/03).

Community bodies

Following the adoption of the new Financial Regulation on 26 June 2002, the Council decided to amend the constituent acts of the Community bodies as regards, firstly, the budgetary and financial rules applicable, and, secondly, access to documents (docs 9010/03, 9011/03, 9012/03, 9013/03, 9014/03, 9015/03, 9016/03, 9017/03, 9018/03, 9019/03, 9020/03, 9021/03).

It is recalled that the new general Financial Regulation entered into force on 1 January 2003 (OJ L 248, 16.9.2002).

JUSTICE AND HOME AFFAIRS

EU Drugs Action Plan

The Council approved an implementation document on demand and supply reduction to deliver the EU Drugs Action Plan (doc. 8926/2/03).

Drug dependencies within the national health care - Resolution

The Representatives of the Member States meeting within the Council adopted a Resolution for the integration of the effective management of drug dependencies (diagnosis, brief intervention, referrals) and medically assisted treatment for opiate dependent patients within the national health care.

"The representatives of the governments of the Member States meeting within the Council

    HAVING REGARD to The European Union Drugs Strategy (2000-2004) third strategy target to substantially increase the number of successfully treated addicts;

    HAVING REGARD to The European Union Drugs Strategy (2000-2004) in which the substantial reduction over five years of the incidence of drug-related health damage and the number of drug-related deaths has been set out as the second strategy target;

    BEARING IN MIND the United Nations General Assembly Special Session of 1998 and the Declaration on the Guiding Principles of Drug Demand Reduction (points 10 and 12) calling on Members States to act to offer early help and access to services to those in need and to integrate demand reduction efforts into broader social welfare and health promotion policies;

    BEARING IN MIND the European Union Action Plan on Drugs (2000-2004) and in particular points 3.1.2.6, 3.1.3.1 and 3.1.3.2 by which Member States are invited to find strategies to increase access to and availability of services to reach drug abusers at high risk and to allocate adequate resources to drug treatment so that in-patient or out-patient treatment can be guaranteed within a reasonable time;

    RECALLING the Note from the Council to the European Council in connection with the mid-term evaluation of the European Union Action Plan on Drugs (CORDROGUE 103, para. 7.4) in which one main target is to identify EU programmes and instruments which could have an impact on increasing the number of successfully treated drug addicts;

      CONSIDERING:

    the problem of drug dependence in our societies and its health, legal and other serious consequences to the individual and to society;

    the fact that untreated dependent individuals contribute to the further spread of the epidemic through the initiation of new drug users;

    the increased risk of spreading HIV, hepatitis and other infectious diseases through untreated injecting drug users to other drug users and the general population;

    the economic costs that drug dependence incurs for society and the judicial and health systems;

    the fact that drug use induces changes at biological, psychosocial and social level, whose complex interactions impede the treatment of drug dependent patients;

    the clinical evidence according to which chronic dependence requires long term integrated multidisciplinary interventions;

    the well-supported evidence that substitution treatment, if correctly prescribed and properly integrated with other treatments, has beneficial effects on reducing the overall damage of opiate dependence both to the individual and to society through the improvement in health and through the facilitation of social reintegration;

    that drug dependence is a public health problem and that drug dependent people have the right to appropriate and readily available integrated treatment;

    the fact that the problems of substance dependence are broader than those relating only to opiate dependence and that psychoactive substances place an enormous burden on our societies;

    the need to consider full recovery of drug users, both in terms of physical and mental health and social integration, as the optimal aim of any treatment programme for drug dependence;

      Hereby stress the importance of :

    facilitating the integration, wherever appropriate, of drug dependence diagnosis, brief interventions, referrals and medically assisted treatment into primary and secondary care facilities in the general health system;

    enhancing the continuity of care through close interaction and collaboration between all parties, whatever their specialisms, including those providing the necessary auxiliary medical services for dually diagnosed drug dependent patients, involved in treatment;

    the need to combine the provision of medical and psychosocial treatment with social reintegration services, such as housing, training, education, employment;

    ensuring the availability, coverage and accessibility of effective treatment programmes, including substitution treatment, and reducing waiting lists to the minimum possible;

    implementing adequate monitoring systems for patients undergoing substitution treatment and taking all necessary measures, including controls of prescription procedures, in order to avoid the misappropriation of substances;

    ensuring that medical and other professionals undergo appropriate training to enable them to acquire the necessary skills for providing quality services to drug misusing patients;

    promoting information and new knowledge on drug dependencies at university and other higher education studies for health and other professionals and more specifically in medical schools with the aim of developing attitudes and skills that will enable them to contribute to the effective management (prevention, early detection, brief interventions, care or referral) of drug dependent clients;

    following up those patients ending treatment and providing them with the opportunity of readmission in the event of relapse;

    paying special attention to the confidentiality of the personal data of the patients, especially when the latter are transmitted to officially accredited institutions for research and statistical purposes, by using non-identifiable personal codes;

    enhancing evidence-based treatment practices including those related to patient tailored prescription dosage of substitutes, information to patients on the risks associated to other psychoactive substances' use while in substitution treatment, continuous monitoring of treatment processes and outcomes, evaluating, in particular, recovery levels of treated individuals, both in terms of physical and psychological status and social reintegration;

    ensuring, in particular, that long term pharmacological treatment is prescribed after careful assessment of the feasibility of alternative treatment, with constant care to patients safety and in combination with psycho-social interventions;

    examining the necessary measures so that patients are able to continue treatment in the case of hospitalisation for a physical ailment, while in prison, or while travelling to another city and, whenever possible, country."

Education curricula on substance misuse disorders - Resolution

The Representatives of the Governments of the Member States meeting within the Council adopted a Resolution for the development of education curricula on substance misuse disorders for medical and other care students and professionals and their inclusion in university studies.

"The representatives of the governments of the Member States meeting within the Council

    HAVING REGARD to the European Union Drugs Strategy (2000-2004) and in particular strategic target 2 on the substantial decrease over five years of the incidence of drug related health damage as well as of the number of drug related deaths;

    HAVING REGARD to the European Union Action Plan on Drugs (2000-2004) and in particular the specific formulations of the second strategic target, by which Member States are called to give highest priority to health, education, research and training activities and to instruments to combat social exclusion; to identify and exchange best practices on demand reduction; to provide adequate resources for the above; to support the promotion of professional networks; to improve the quality of substitution treatment;

    RECALLING that the European Union Action Plan calls for consideration to be given to the protection of public health as the basis for action on demand reduction; for the availability of and easy access to a wide range of high quality in-patient and out-patient treatment services and for measures to prevent relapses; for the development of drug related training for professionals and to include this in educational programmes of future workers in the health, social and law-enforcement sectors; and for the promotion of the use of new media, especially the Internet, in designing, implementing and evaluating educational prevention programmes;

      CONSIDERING that:

    there exists clear evidence that treatment and prevention of substance misuse disorders are effective and cost-efficient;

    medical and other care professionals can play a important role in the prevention and treatment of substance misuse disorders;

    there is room for improvement of medical university education and education of other care professionals on problems related to drug dependence;

    there is a need to promote the training of medical and other care professionals so that they are provided with the necessary skills to identify and handle appropriately substance misusing individuals;

      Hereby stress the importance of :

    acknowledging and confirming the important role of the medically trained and other care professionals in the management of substance misuse disorders;

    ensuring that medical and other care professionals through appropriate education and training are skilled to apply evidence based best practices in managing substance misuse disorders;

    stimulating, where necessary and appropriate, interministerial cooperation to promote appropriate curricula on substance misuse disorders as an integrate part of appropriate university medical and other care professionals' education programmes;

    promoting international cooperation and exchange of information about experiences and knowledge of the medical and other professionals' education programmes within Europe and with countries outside Europe, notably through networks and internet."

Young people using drugs - Resolution

The Council adopted a Resolution on the importance of early intervention to prevent drug dependence and drug related harm among young people using drugs.

"THE COUNCIL OF THE EUROPEAN UNION,

    NOTES that experimentation, occasional drug use and recreational drug use especially of synthetic drugs and cannabis among young people have become a widespread phenomenon and a social problem among young people;

    NOTES that health and social problems related to drug use are often not identified and detected until they become serious and interfere with the well being of individuals and their families;

      NOTES that young people experimenting or using drugs mostly underestimate the risk of becoming more seriously involved in drug taking and dependence and therefore, do not seek contact with counseling or treatment services;

      NOTES the widespread use of cannabis and synthetic drugs among young people and the widespread and fallacious perceptions among them that these drugs are not dangerous;

      NOTES that there is growing scientific evidence indicating that the recreational use of drugs involves different levels and types of risks for both physical and mental health depending on frequency of use and individual vulnerability;

    NOTES that the spectrum of early prevention strategies is limited and not sufficiently updated and that the design, implementation and evaluation of targeted and innovative approaches of early intervention to prevent drug dependence and drug related risks among young people is particularly challenging, and that common understanding is insufficient;

    RECALLS that one of the main targets for the European Union Drug Strategy (20002004) approved by the European Council in Helsinki in December 1999, is to reduce significantly the prevalence of illicit drug use, as well as new recruitment to it, particularly among young people under 18 years of age;

    RECALLS that the European Union Action Plan on Drugs (20002004) endorsed by the European Council in Santa Maria da Feira in June 2000, strongly encourages proactive measures regarding the prevention of drug use, the prevention of drug related crime, and the reduction of the negative health and social consequences of drugs;

    RECALLS the Commission Communication to the Council and the European Parliament on the mid-term evaluation of the EU Action Plan on Drugs (20002004), which reaffirms the need for Member States to further develop innovative prevention programmes and the exchange of best practice in relation to all aspects of drug prevention using European channels like the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA) to disseminate information more effectively;

    RECALLS that this Commission Communication states that the issue of synthetic drugs must remain a top priority for the European Union, and recognizes an overall need for information on emerging trends in drug use patterns, as well as on new drugs coming to the drugs markets;

    RECALLS that the Council and the Representatives of the Governments of the Member States meeting within the Council, on the initiative of the Spanish Presidency (CORDROGUE 2 REV 3-15.04.2002) adopted a Resolution on the prevention of the recreational use of drugs;

    WELCOMES the relevant studies and activities already implemented in the Community as well as at Member State level;

    STRESSES THE IMPORTANCE of shared responsibility of international and local communities in preventing drug dependence among young people and related harm;

    STRESSES THE IMPORTANCE of a timely identification of drug use among young people who are at risk for substance dependence and drug related harm;

    STRESSES THE IMPORTANCE of innovative monitoring measures and early intervention approaches to prevent problem drug use, drug dependence and associated health and social harm and possible involvement in delinquent behavior among young people who are at an early-stage of substance use experimentation, occasional, recreational or circumstantial use;

    STRESSES THE IMPORTANT ROLE of local communities, schools and other relevant actors in drug use prevention, intervention and treatment at the early stages of drug abuse, when dependence and other drug related harm has not yet become the primary problem in the teenager's life;

    STRESSES THE IMPORTANCE of addressing vulnerability factors such as poor school achievement, lack of social and life skills, school dropout, association with antisocial and delinquent activities, self-destructive behavior, aggression, anxiety in their prevention efforts;

    CONSIDERS that in order to protect young people from the spread of drug use and the risk of dependence it is important to focus inter alia on :

        outreach techniques and strategies of early intervention for young people and their social environment,

       easily accessible counseling and treatment services to adolescents and their families and providing individual and collective possibilities of participative involvement,

       adequate methods and tools in order to provide the necessary intervention skills to teachers, health professionals policemen, judges, professionals in the sports and recreational settings and any other relevant actors, including adolescents themselves and their families.

    INVITES Member States, the Commission and the EMCDDA according to their respective competencies to:

       cooperate regarding exchange of information, experience and best practices in order to better serve young people at an early stage of drug use;

        consider the inclusion in the EDDRA information base the most relevant existing innovative methods and tools of early interventions;

       consider new directions in carrying intervention research projects in order to enhance the effectiveness of strategies;

       consider preparing a manual providing guiding principles on evidence based best practice on early intervention including principles, implementation methods and evaluation tools."

________________________

(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.?The documents whose references are given in the text are available on the Council's Internet site HYPERLINK "http://register.consilium.europa.eu/scripts/utfregisterDir/WebDriver.exe?MIval=advanced&MIlang=EN&fc=REGAISEN&srm=5&ssf=&mt=128&md=100"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 are available on the above mentioned Council Internet site or may be obtained from the Press Office.

(2)1OJ L 21, 27.1.1996, p. 47.

(3)2 OJ L 163, 4.7.2000, p. 37.

(4) "Use of halon 1301: in aircraft for the protection of crew compartments, engine nacelles, cargo bays and dry bays, in military land vehicles and naval vessels for the protection of spaces occupied by personnel and engine compartments, for the making inert of occupied spaces where flammable liquid and/or gas release could occur in the military and oil, gas and petrochemical sector, and in existing cargo ships, for the making inert of existing manned communication and command centres of the armed forces or others, essential for national security, for the making inert of spaces where there may be a risk of dispersion of radioactive matter, in the Channel Tunnel and associated installations and rolling stock.Use of halon 1211: in hand-held fire extinguishers and fixed extinguisher equipment for engines for use on board aircraft, in aircraft for the protection of crew compartments, engine nacelles, cargo bays and dry bays, in fire extinguishers essential to personal safety used for initial extinguishing by fire brigades, in military and police fire extinguishers for use on persons."

(5)For more information on the content of the Protocol, please consult the following website: HYPERLINK http://www.unep.org/ozone/montreal.shtml http://www.unep.org/ozone/montreal.shtml


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