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Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: 1. The General Affairs Council in Luxembourg on 27 April adopted the A points, and noted the resolutions, decisions and opinions adopted by the European Parliament in its session of 30 March-3 April. Copies of the documents listing the A points and resolutions will be placed in the House Libraries as soon as they become available.
2. The Council invited COREPER to continue work on preparations to the EU/Canada and EU/US Summits on 14 May and 18 May respectively, including taking forward an EU position on transatlantic trade and on US sanctions legislation.
3. The Presidency reported on progress on Agenda 2000 negotiations. Some Foreign Ministers commented on political aspects of the dossier, including the Own Resources system. The Council agreed how to handle European Parliament involvement.
4. The Council heard a report from Commissioner van den Broek on the Commission's exploratory contacts with Turkey on the elements of the proposed European strategy for Turkey identified at Luxembourg. It reaffirmed the importance it attaches to a successful Association Council and invited the Presidency and Commission to continue the necessary preparation on the European strategy to that end. Most member states noted the importance of releasing the financial protocol for Turkey to allow full implementation of the strategy.
5. The Presidency briefed partners on the recent visit of the Prime Minister to the Middle East. The Council welcomed the agreement of Prime Minister Netanyahu and President Arafat to meet US Secretary of State Albright in London on 4 May, as well as additional meetings of all three with the Presidency. These meetings represent an important opportunity to reinvigorate negotiations. The EU strongly urged the parties to approach the London meetings with the necessary determination to find a compromise along the lines put to them by the US. The EU is ready to help facilitate progress.
8. On Montenegro, the Council welcomed positive developments in political and economic reform, and agreed to allocate an initial sum of 3 million ecu to help the new Montenegrin Government meet outstanding social welfare commitments.
9. The Council also considered its regional approach to the development of contractual relations between the EU and countries in the western Balkans region. It concluded that the Commission should look closely at the feasibility of improved trade relations with Albania, and how best to implement existing arrangements with the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. It considered that the time was not yet right for further deepening of contractual links with FRY, Bosnia or Croatia; and called into question Croatia's continued eligibility for EU trade preferences unless it improved its performance against agreed EU conditionality.
11. The fourth EU/Slovakia and EU/Romania Association Councils took place on 28 April. The meetings took stock of the past year's developments in the enlargement process, and Slovakia and Romania's preparations for accession, notably their progress towards meeting the Copenhagen criteria for membership. The EU/Slovakia Council paid particular attention to the shortcomings in Slovakia's democratic institutions. The EU/Romania Council concentrated on economic reform.
13. The joint dinner on 27 April discussed the following issues: strengthening of democratic institutions, relations with neighbouring countries, including regional co-operation, and border management.
14. The tenth EC/Malta Association Council met on 28 April, and adopted a Joint Declaration on future relations, including a political commitment to establish a Free Trade Area. In the margins, two further joint declarations were adopted: on political dialogue and on Justice and Home Affairs co-operation. Over lunch, member states discussed the Euro-Mediterranean partnership.
Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: This calendar is primarily concerned with European Union matters, but certain other relevant events are also included. Events and dates quoted are based on the information available on the date of issue.
|1-3||Brussels||Ecofin & Special EMU Council|
|5||Brussels||Political Committee (t.b.c.)|
|5-6||Belfast||EU Ministers Womens Forum (Informal)|
|8||London||EU/Japan Troika Ministerial (t.b.c.)|
|8-9||London||G8 Foreign & Finance Ministerial|
|10-12||Newcastle||Meeting of Agriculture Ministers|
|11||Brussels||Energy Council (t.b.c.)|
|11||Brussels||Euro-Med Energy Ministerial|
|11-15||Strasbourg||European Parliament Plenary|
|14-15||London||Innovative Partnerships for Competitiveness Conference|
|14-16||London||Conference on Culture and Employment|
|18||Brussels||Internal Market Council|
|18-20||Northern Ireland||Regional Affairs Committee|
|19||London||Conference on Developing EU Public Health Policy|
|20||London||EU Public Administration Ministers meeting|
|25-26||Brussels||General Affairs Council|
|27-28||Brussels||European Parliament Plenary|
|28||Brussels||Culture and Audiovisual Council|
|28-29||Brussels||Justice & Home Affairs Council|
|3-4||Palermo||Ad-hoc meeting of Euro-Mediterranean Foreign Ministers|
|4||Luxembourg||Education & Social Affairs Council|
|8-9||Luxembourg||General Affairs Council|
|8-9||Glasgow||Regional Policy/Spatial Planning Ministers' informal|
|15-19||Strasbourg||European Parliament Plenary|
|17||Luxembourg||Joint Environment & Transport Council|
|19||Glasgow||Energy & Environment Conference|
|25||Brussels||Presidency Biotechnology Round Table|
|29-30||Luxembourg||General Affairs Council (t.b.c.)|
|1-2||Brussels||European Parliament Plenary|
|8-10||Innsbruck||Employment/Social Affairs/Women (Informal)|
|13-14||Luxembourg||General Affairs Council|
|17-19||Luxembourg||Environment Council (Informal)|
|There are no Councils scheduled for this month.|
|5-6||Salzburg||Foreign Ministers (Informal)|
|7-8||Brussels||Special Committee on Agriculture|
|15-16||Brussels||Transport Council (Informal)|
|21||New York||Political Committee|
|21-22||St. Wolfgang, Austria||Agriculture Council (Informal)|
|24||Brussels||Justice & Home Affairs|
|25-27||Brussels||ECOFIN Council (Informal)|
|2-3||Luxembourg||Industry/Research & Technology Council (Informal)|
|5||Luxembourg||Work & Social Affairs Council|
|5-6||Luxembourg||General Affairs Council|
|23-24||Luxembourg||Education Council (Informal)|
|26-27||Luxembourg||General Affairs Council|
|29-30||Luxembourg||Justice & Home Affairs Council|
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