EURO-MEDITERRANEAN ASSOCIATION AGREEMENT
(a) Draft Council Decision on the signature of a EuroMediterranean Association Agreement between the European Community and its Member States and the Republic of Lebanon on behalf of the European Community; and
(b) Draft Council Decision on the conclusion of a EuroMediterranean Association Agreement between the European Community and its Member States and the Republic of Lebanon.
|Legal base:||(a) Article 310 EC in conjunction with the first sentence of the first sub-paragraph of Article 300(2); unanimity|
(b) Article 310 EC in conjunction with Article 300(3); unanimity
|Department:||Foreign and Commonwealth Office
|Basis of consideration:
||EM of 11 April 2002|
|Previous Committee Report:
|To be discussed in Council:
||No date set|
|Committee's assessment:||Politically important
15.1 In 1995 the Council approved a mandate for the Commission
to negotiate a Euro-Mediterranean Association Agreement with Lebanon.
The Agreement was initialled by the Commission and Lebanon on
10 January 2002. It will widen the scope of the Co-operation Agreement
signed in 1977, which it will replace.
15.2 The Commission now proposes that the Council authorises
it, on behalf of the European Community, to sign the Agreement
and then, after the assent of the European Parliament has been
obtained, to sign a Decision concluding the Agreement. As a mixed
competence agreement, it will also be signed and concluded by
the Member States. Before coming into force it will need to be
ratified by the Member States, and approved by Lebanon, as well
as by the European Community.
15.3 The Decision to conclude the Agreement is subject
to parliamentary scrutiny but there is no requirement for scrutiny
of the Council Decision authorising signature. As the Commission
has produced both Decisions in one document, the Minister for
Europe (Mr Peter Hain) has submitted an EM on both, so as to provide
us with an indication of the terms. Normally, a Minister informs
us of such Decisions by letter.
15.4 The Agreement is one of the latest in a series of
Euro-Mediterranean Association Agreements to be concluded under
the EU's Mediterranean policy, launched at the Essen European
Council in December 1994, and is similar in content and form to
the others. It is for an unlimited period, but either Party may
denounce it after giving six months' notice to the other.
15.5 The Minister says that the Agreement will be signed
at the meeting of Euro-Mediterranean Foreign Ministers in Valencia
on 22-23 April 2002. A similar Agreement with the People's Democratic
Republic of Algeria is also expected to be signed at Valencia.
Objectives of the Agreement
15.6 The Minister comments that the main objectives of
the Agreement are to provide an appropriate framework for political
dialogue, to strengthen economic relations between the Community
and Lebanon, to encourage regional co-operation, to consolidate
economic and political stability, and to promote co-operation
in other areas of reciprocal interest.
Provisions of the Agreement
15.7 The Minister summarises the proposed Agreement as
" regular political dialogue. Respect for
democratic principles and human rights will be an essential element
of the agreement;
- a free trade area, to be established in stages, in accordance
with WTO rules, between
the Community and Lebanon, over a maximum period of 12 years,
including liberalisation of trade in industrial products, and
further liberalisation of trade in agricultural, processed agricultural
and fisheries products;
- a safeguard clause and an anti-dumping/countervailing clause
confirming the Parties' right to take action in accordance with
- provision for the extension of the Agreement to cover establishment
of companies and trade in services, taking account of obligations
arising out of the General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS);
- further removal of restrictions on the movement of capital
between the Community and Lebanon;
- the introduction of rules within five years of the entry into
force of the agreement in relation to competition within the free
- protection of intellectual, industrial and commercial property;
- co-operation in a wide range of areas, including education
and training, science and technology, environment, industry, investment,
financial services, agriculture, transport, telecommunications
and information technology, energy, tourism, customs, statistics,
money laundering, and drugs;
- a dialogue on social and cultural matters;
- financial co-operation, aimed at modernising the Lebanese
economy and promoting private investment;
- the establishment of an Association Council, which will meet
when both sides consider necessary, at Ministerial level to examine
any issues arising within the framework of the Agreement. An Association
Committee of senior officials will assist it; and
- appropriate measures by either Party, including, implicitly,
suspension of the Agreement if it considers that the other Party
has failed to fulfil its obligations under the Agreement."
Exchange of Letters on Counter-Terrorism Co-operation
15.8 The Minister says:
"Following the events of 11 September, the EU requested
that an exchange of letters be attached to the Agreement outlining
all parties' commitment to counter-terrorism co-operation. Negotiations
with the Lebanese continue. A Decision to conclude this exchange
has been produced by the Commission."
15.9 The Minister attaches a copy of the draft Decision
to his Explanatory Memorandum.
The Government's view
15.10 The Minister comments briefly:
"The Agreement recognises the European Union's desire
to deepen its partnership with Lebanon. It provides a comprehensive
framework for political dialogue at all levels, and for the development
of trade between the EU and Lebanon. The Agreement does not impose
any new burdens on business. On the contrary, it will bring new
opportunities to UK exporters.
"The UK has requested and secured, the inclusion of a reference
to the UK's opt-in to Title IV of the Treaty of Amsterdam in the
the events of 11 September, the UK proposed that the commitment
of the EU and Lebanon to counter-terrorism co-operation should
also be reflected in the Agreement. Negotiations are well advanced
on an exchange of letters outlining both sides' commitment to
counter-terrorism co-operation. The exchange of letters will be
legally and politically binding. The Government hopes that the
exchange of letters will be attached to the Agreement at signature.
"The European Community and Lebanon have agreed to conclude
an Interim Agreement,
to apply, pending entry into force of the new Association Agreement.
It is intended to cover the trade-related elements of the Association
15.11 On the financial implications, the Minister comments:
"The Agreement does not cover EC aid to Lebanon. At present,
Lebanon is eligible for EIB
loans, and EC funding under the MEDA regulation.
"Depending on the extent of the increase in imports to the
EU and the sectors concerned, there may be additional costs to
the EC budget if internal production of agricultural products
is diverted to subsidised exports, intervention storage or other
means of disposal. Any such costs will have to be contained within
the budgetary ceilings set out within the financial perspective
as agreed at the Berlin Summit in March 1999".
15.12 We welcome this agreement and look forward to
its early ratification.
15.13 We also welcome the Exchange of Letters concerning
co-operation in the fight against terrorism. The Minister did
not formally include the draft Decision on this Exchange of Letters
in his Explanatory Memorandum and we now ask him submit an Explanatory
Memorandum on that Decision, bringing us up to date on its status.
We note that the current draft states that the agreement in the
Exchange of Letters is to enter into force at the same time as
the Euro-Mediterranean Agreement. Can the Minister tell us whether
any consideration has been given to an Interim Agreement so that
this co-operation can begin without delay?
15.14 We clear the document.
Agreements have been signed with Tunisia, Morocco, Jordan, Israel
and Egypt and an interim Association Agreement has been signed
with the Palestinian Authority. Back
- ; see paragraph 16 of this Report. Back
Trade Organisation. Back
recital to the draft Decision on conclusion covers this point
which refers to Title IV EC (Visas, asylum, immigration and other
policies related to Free Movement of Persons). Back
-; see paragraph 14 of this Report. Back
Investment Bank. Back