Memorandum submitted by the Foreign and
1. Have any of the applicant countries signified
objections to any of the decisions taken at Nice? What have those
The agreement on institutional reform at Nice
has enabled enlargement to proceed. All the applicants have welcomed
this. However, Malta has expressed disappointment with its allocation
of Council votes and European Parliament seats (three and four
respectively), compared with Luxembourg (four votes and six seats).
The Czech Republic and Hungary have both expressed some disappointment
that they were allocated two fewer European parliament seats than
Belgium, Greece and Portugal.
2. The Czech Republic and Hungary have been
allocated two fewer seats in the European Parliament than Belgium,
Greece and Portugal. Given that all these countries have populations
of around 10 million, how can this be justified? What prospect
is there that this will be changed, and is HMG taking any initiative
in this matter?
The negotiations on future numbers of seats
in the EP were lengthy, difficult and hard fought. A compromise
had to be struck between individual states' allocations and the
need to limit the overall size of the European Parliament. And
the final numbers were part of an overall package, which included
the allocation of Council votes.
The figures for the applicant countries are
contained in a Declaration annexed to the Treaty and do not therefore
have legal force. They do, however, represent a political commitment
and, as such, will be a guide for the accession negotiations.
Any applicant country that feels it has been unfairly treated
is free to raise the matter during these negotiations.
3. It is the case that Spain's successful
campaign to maintain unanimity on the allocation of structural
and cohesion funds until 2007 will mean that the net contributors
to the EU's budget, such as the UK and Sweden, will be forced
to increase their contributions to pay for enlargement? If so
can HMG estimate what this increase will be?
The UK's net contribution is unlikely to be
affected, before 2007, by the decision to maintain unanimity on
the allocation of structural and cohesion funds.
The EU's structural fund programme for 2000-06
was agreed at the Berlin European Council in March 1999. Berlin
also agreed annual limits on structural fund spending in the new
Member States. Actual spending in the new Member States over this
period will depend upon the eventual terms of accession and the
absorptive capacity of the new Member States. Spending after 2006
will be determined by the next round of structural fund and financial
perspective negotiations, which are expected to begin in 2005:
decisions require unanimity. There are currently a significant
number of net contributors to the EC budget, including France,
Germany, The Netherlands and Austria, as well as the UK and Sweden.
4. Is it the case that, under the Nice Treaty,
it will be easier to block measures in the Council? How does this
help the EU prepare for enlargement?
The Government does not believe that it has
been made easier to block legislation under new QMV voting rules.
The deal on QMV and reweighting, although complex, provides a
fairer system for the large member states, fulfils UK objectives,
and improved the democratic legitimacy of Council decision-making.
The percentage of votes in the Council required to pass a measure
under QMV will remain close to current levels. But the percentage
thresholds are based on the number of Member States required to
form a blocking minority, not on the absolute percentages. The
number of Member States necessary for a blocking minority in an
EU of up to 27 will rise to three large Member States and one
small (except Malta, in which case two small Member States will
Without the reweighting agreed at Nice, it would
have been possible in an EU of 27 Member States for countries
with a minority of the EU's population to outvote the majority.
Two other elements added to the voting system
at Nice are a requirement that at least half of the Member States
should support a proposal before it is passed, and that (if any
Member State so requests) a Qualified Majority must represent
at least 62 per cent of the EU's population. These measures are
not designed to make it easier to block legislation but to preserve
democratic legitimacy and to ensure a reasonable balance of power
between larger and smaller Member States. But the population criterion
does have the effect of allowing Germany plus two other large
Members States (from UK, France or Italy) to block a proposal.
5. Does HMG expect Sweden to be in a position
to propose a definite timetable for the membership of the first
group of applicant states at the Goteborg Council?
Swedish Prime Minister Goran Presson has said
"It could be that the Goteborg summit will result in target
dates. But we are far from sure. I do not want to set this as
a target of the Swedish Presidency." The UK government's
position is that we believe the time is approaching when the EU
could concentrate minds by setting a target date for the conclusion
of negotiations with those countries ready for membership. Whether
Goteborg will be the right time to do this depends to a large
extent on the progress made in negotiations between now and then.
6. How is it envisaged that citizens in applicant
countries will participate in the next elections for the European
The Nice European Council conclusions express
the hope that the first new Member States will take part in the
next European Parliament elections. In previous enlargements new
Member States joining between elections have first nominated members
of the European Parliament, then arranged direct elections for
MEPs to serve until the next EU-wide elections. Exact arrangement
for the current applicants will be determined in the final stages
7. Sweden has announced that it has the "objective
. . . to pave the way for a political breakthrough [on enlargement]".
What progress does HMG believe that Sweden has so far made towards
such a breakthrough? What assistance has HMG given to this process?
Sweden has set out a number of aims for progress
on enlargement during their Presidency. They intend to meet the
Commission's road map by:
(i) opening as many chapters as possible
with those applicants that began negotiations in 2000;
(ii) provisionally closing the nine scheduled
chapters (Free Movement of Goods/People/Services/Capital, Company
Law, Environment, External Relations, Culture and Audiovisual,
Social and Employment) with all candidates who are ready to do
In addition, the Presidency aims to "beat"
the road map by closing additional chapters and beginning the
preparatory work for some of the more difficult chapters scheduled
for the Belgian Presidency such as Phyto-sanitary and Veterinary.
It is still too soon to say if the Presidency will meet these
aims. But we shall continue to support them. In particular, we
will provide practical support to applicants through initiatives
such as our bilateral Action Plans and our participation in the
Commission's Twinning programme.
8. What prior discussions did Germany have
with other Member States before proposing a seven year transition
period so far as full freedom of movement is concerned? What is
HMG's attitude towards this proposal?
We have discussed the general issue of free
movement of people with Germany several times. Chancellor Schroeder's
speech of 18 December set out publicly their proposal for a seven
year transition period, which reflects specific German concerns,
and on which there has yet been no collective discussion. The
UK will not take a considered position until the German government
has presented the proposal in the negotiations in Brussels. The
Commission will produce discussion paper in early March suggesting
options for handling free movement of workers. Our general view
is that, where transition periods are necessary, they should be
limited in scope and time as possible.
9. The programme for the Swedish Presidency
states that "it is essential that enlargement enjoys broad
support in the Union". Is it HMG's assessment that this broad
support within the Union is increasing or diminishing? How concerned
is HMG by evidence of diminishing support for enlargement in some
candidate countries, such as Poland?
It is difficult to assess support for enlargement
within the EU as a whole. There have been few opinion polls that
both canvas opinion across the EU and elicit views on enlargement
as a whole, rather than on the accession of one country in particular.
Eurobarometer have recently added to their regular opinion polls
a question asking whether or not respondents are for or against
the proposal that "the European Union should be enlarged
and include new countries". The results of their first poll
including this question for the EU as a whole show 44 per cent
in favour of enlargement and 35 per cent against, with 21 per
cent saying that they don't know. The breakdown of results by
country appears to show an increase in support in some countries
and a decrease in others, although the figures are not directly
comparable. Declining support in some candidate countries may
be an inevitable consequence of difficult but necessary reform
required for alignment with the acquis. However, in all countries
now in negotiations the percentage in support of enlargement remains
higher than those opposed.
10. Is it feasible that the first group of
states to enter the Union might exclude Poland?
The Prime Minister said in Warsaw last October
that we want Poland, and as many others as are ready, in the European
Union as soon as it's possible. But he also said there are no
guaranteed places. This remains the British government's position.
11. In the light of the annexes to the Nice
Treaty relating to the European Security and Defence Policy, does
HMG consider that the EU, once it has decided to take military
action, will (i) have discretion, or (ii) be under a binding Treaty
obligation, to consult with NATO before engaging?
The Presidency Report to the Nice European Council
on European Security represents a commitment by the European Union
at the highest level to consult with NATO at all times, and to
intensify that consultation in times of crises. The objective
of the consultation will be to determine the most appropriate
response to a crisis. The EU will only decide to act where NATO
as a while is not engaged and following consultation with NATO.
The Report is not annexed to the Treaty of Nice
and does not create legal obligations.
12. The Prime Minister said on 11 December
2000 that "In circumstances where NATO decided that it does
not want to be involved . . . then the European Union actsbut
not with a military strategic commitment outside NATO". Does
this mean that NATO will always have the right of first refusal
in respect of any proposed military action?
The EU and NATO are agreed that the EU will
act in military crisis management only "where NATO as a whole
is not engaged". In practice, there would be intensive consultation
among the governments concerned, bilaterally, within NATO and
the EU, and between the two institutions. This Government is clear
that NATO remains our instrument of choice for management of crises
where European security interests are involved. When the United
States and Canada are prepared to engage directly alongside the
European Allies we would want and expect it to be through NATO.
If, in an emerging crisis, it became clear that NATO as a whole
was not going to engage militarily, the option would be there
for EU nations to decide to launch and conduct an EU-led operation
which would, in many cases, have recourse to NATO assets. In practice
this means that the EU will act only once NATO has decided not
to do so.
13. What progress has been made in putting
in place "the necessary arrangements" between NATO and
the EU to which the Prime Minister referred to in his 11 December
statement? What proposals are there for future joint meetings
of the European Council and North Atlantic Council?
NATO and the EU have reached agreement on the
elements of the permanent consultation arrangements, including,
during each EU Presidency, at least one EU/NATO Ministerial meeting
and at least three meetings between the EU's Political and Security
Committee (PSC) and the North Atlantic Council (NAC). The PSC
and NAC had their first joint meeting on 5 February.
NATO is pursuing detailed work on the arrangements
for "Berlin Plus"the arrangements to enable the
EU to have access to NATO operational planning, assets and capabilitiesand
NATO and the EU are together negotiating permanent security arrangements
(building on the interim agreement reached last Summer), and capability
review mechanism to ensure that capability developments in the
EU and NATO are handled coherently.
14. What was the outcome of the Foreign Secretary's
discussions with the new US Administration on developments in
the European Security and Defence Policy?
The Foreign Secretary briefed the Vice-president,
Secretary of State and National Security Adviser in detail on
the European Defence initiative and its emphasis on improved capabilities
and on the essential role of NATO. The US Secretary of State noted
in subsequent public comments that the Administration had a "very
good understanding of what the European security and defence initiative
was about" and that he and the Foreign Secretary shared a
"common belief that it will strengthen NATO". We are
continuing to work closely with the US on European Defence, bilaterally
and in NATO. President Bush welcomed the European Security and
Defence Policy on the basis agreed by the EU at the recent Nice
15. What is Turkey's current view on the enhancement
of the EU's military capability, and on the availability of NATO
assets to the EU? Does Turkey have a right of veto over the use
of NATO assets? To what extent have linkages been made with Turkey's
membership of the Union or Cyprus?
At NATO's Washington Summit, all NATO Allies,
including Turkey, welcomed ESDP and committed NATO to supporting
it. The detailed arrangements for this support are being worked
out in NATO and with the EU. Turkey continues to have concerns
about aspects of these arrangements, which are being addressed
in NATO. Provision of NATO assets and capabilities for use in
an EU-led operation would require a specific NAC decision, which
would be by consensus; so each Ally would have a veto.
The EU has made no linkages between European
Defence and the two issues of Cyprus and Turkey's EU accession
course. The Helsinki European Council in December 1999 set out
the terms of Turkey's EU candidacy. The UK continues to support
the approach set out there.
16. How does HMG intend there should be parliamentary
oversight of the new arrangements?
The Presidency report on ESDP makes clear that
decisions to deploy forces in EU-led operations are sovereign
ones for the member states concerned. The Government will be accountable
to Parliament for decisions to deploy UK forces to EU-led operations.
The Treaty on the European Union provides for the European Parliament
to be consulted on the main aspects and basic choices of the EU's
Common Foreign and Security Policy. But the European Parliament
will have no role in decisions on military deployments which remain
for the Member States and national parliaments concerned. In his
speech in Warsaw on 6 October, the Prime Minister suggested consideration
of a Second Chamber of the European Parliament, composed of representatives
from national parliament, which could play a role in democratic
oversight of CFSP at a European level.
17. Upon whom does HMG believe responsibility
should lie for drawing up the agenda for the 2004 IGC? Who should
be in charge of producing draft texts for the 2004 Treaty Change?
Is there pressure for the establishment of a Convention such as
the Convention which drew up the Charter of Fundamental Rights,
and what is HMG's attitude towards the use of such a Convention?
A Declaration attached to the Treaty of Nice
sets out four areas to be addressed by the next IGC. But it also
states that there should be a "deeper and wider debate about
the future of the European Union" and that that debate should
include national parliaments, civil society stakeholder and, most
importantly, public opinion. The Government believe that that
debate in Britain and Europe should be as wide ranging and inclusive
as possible. Only then, when governments have taken note of views
expressed, should the agenda for the 2004 IGC be set.
No decisions have yet been taken on the process
to prepare the IGC, following the period of public consultation.
The Convention model is one of many possibilities. We do not believe
that it is necessarily the best model. But the Government will
discuss the possibilities with partners in the coming months.
18. What support has been expressed by other
Member States for the Prime Minister's proposal for a second chamber
of the European Parliament formed of national parliamentarians?
The Prime Minister made a number of illustrative
proposals in Warsaw for a more efficient and democratically accountable
European Union. The suggestion of a possible Second Chamber has
been greeted with interest by many in the EU and applicant countries.
But there has been no formal discussion. The involvement of national
parliaments is one of the four issues set out by Nice for discussion
at the next IGC. As said in a previous answer, that IGC must be
preceded by wide consultation, with national parliaments themselves
as well as with the public.
19. How is it proposed that applicant countries
which have not by then become Member States will be involved in
the next IGC?
The Declaration on the Future of the Union,
attached to the Nice Treaty, lays down that those countries that
have concluded accession negotiations will be invited to participate
in the next IGC. Those applicant countries that have not concluded
negotiations will be invited as observers. We intend that the
public consultation exercise should be extended to applicant countries
so that all the applicants whether or not they have signed agreements
will be able to contribute the views of their people, parliaments
and civil society into the IGC debate.
20. What is HMG's view on proposals for a
"constitution" on the European Union"?
The Prime Minister set out our view on a constitution
for the EU in his speech in Warsaw on 6 October 2000. He said:
"I suspect that, given the sheer diversity and complexity
of the EU, its constitution, like the British constitution, will
continue to be found in a number of different treaties, laws and