MID-TERM REVIEW OF IMPLEMENTATION OF ENLARGEMENT
Commission Communication: Information note to the European Council on a mid-term review of the implementation of the enlargement strategy.
||2 October 2001|
|Forwarded to the Council:
||5 October 2001|
|Deposited in Parliament:
||16 October 2001|
||Foreign and Commonwealth Office
|Basis of consideration:
||EM of 26 October 2001
|Previous Committee Report:
|Discussed in Council:
||19 October 2001 Ghent European Council
24.1 This information note was produced by the
Commission for the Ghent European Council on 19 October, at the
behest of the Belgian Presidency.
24.2 The Nice European Council in December 2000
endorsed a timetable for the enlargement negotiations. The "road
map" allocated all remaining issues for negotiation, divided
into their relevant "chapters", such as Transport, Taxation,
Environment, to the three following presidencies of Sweden, Belgium
and Spain. The Commission recalls that the Göteborg European
Council in June concluded that:
"Provided that progress
towards meeting the accession criteria continues at an unabated
pace, the road map should make it possible to complete negotiations
by the end of 2002 for those candidate countries that are ready.
The objective is that they should participate in the European
Parliament elections of 2004 as members".
24.3 The Commission concludes that the roadmap
has proved a valuable tool in focussing both the Member States
and the candidate countries on achieving real progress in the
negotiations. At the time it was drawn up the candidates had closed
between eight (Romania) and 23 (Cyprus) chapters. Of the 31 chapters,
29 had been opened with all the candidates that began negotiations
in 1998, and between 15 and 29 with those that started negotiations
in 2000. It stresses the effort that the candidates and the Union
must continue to make, commenting that the candidates must continue
with preparations to meet fully the Copenhagen accession criteria.
24.4 The Communication notes that the EU has
agreed Common Positions on all of the nine chapters allocated
to the Swedish Presidency, and has closed 7 of these chapters
with all or almost all of the candidates (Free Movement of Goods,
Free Movement of Services, Free Movement of Capital, Company Law,
Social Policy, Culture and Audio-Visual, and External Relations).
The chapters on Free Movement of Persons and Environment have
been closed with about half of the candidates. The Communication
reviews the situation for each of these chapters in turn.
24.5 The Commission also analyses the progress
made in all nine of the chapters allocated to the Belgian Presidency,
and comments that work is relatively advanced on four
Customs Union, Justice and Home Affairs, and Financial Control).
The Communication highlights five chapters that require particular
attention, which it summarises as:
the main issue is potential temporary restrictions on access to
the national road haulage markets of the EU15 (cabotage);
Taxation: several candidates have asked
temporarily to maintain VAT zero-rates for certain products and
to increase gradually excise duties for cigarettes up to the EU
Agriculture (veterinary and phytosanitary
aspects direct payments and supply management systems
are not being addressed at this stage): the Commission considers
that particular attention should be paid to the issues of animal
welfare and public health in slaughterhouses and dairies;
Justice and Home Affairs: the Commission
argues that, on the one hand, enlargement should not cause any
new division of Europe, especially in the regions where close
links exist. On the other hand, the future external border of
the Union must meet the security needs of today's EU citizens.
In addition, new Member States can only be fully integrated into
the Schengen system when they are able to apply fully Schengen
Energy: now that EU recommendations
on nuclear safety have been transmitted to the candidate countries,
their positions regarding these recommendations
needs to be examined with a view to provisionally closing the
24.6 The Communication also notes the need to
settle the outstanding chapters of Free Movement of Persons and
Free Movement of Capital with those candidates yet to close them.
Poland, Estonia and Slovakia have still to close Free Movement
of Persons, and the chapter is not yet open with Romania. Poland,
Malta, Romania and Bulgaria have still to close the Free Movement
of Capital chapter).
24.7 The Communication emphasises that progress
in the negotiations must be based not only on adoption of the
but also on their implementation and enforcement. It notes that
the Commission's annual progress reports, due in November, will
pay particular attention to the candidates' administrative capacity
to implement the acquis. The Commission will judge that
a candidate is ready to accede only if it has fulfilled all the
criteria for accession. Each candidate will be judged on its own
merits. The Commission notes that help will be available to those
countries not in a position to join the EU by 2004.
24.8 The Communication makes particular reference
to the progress made by Turkey, both economically and politically.
It highlights the work still to be done, notably on strengthening
democracy and protecting human rights. It also expresses the hope
that Turkey will play a constructive role in the effort to find
a resolution to the Cyprus problem.
24.9 The Communication stresses the historical
and political significance of the enlargement project. It concludes
that the process of enlargement has contributed decisively to
stability, democracy, and political and economic reform across
the European continent.
The Government's view
24.10 In his Explanatory Memorandum of 26 October
2001, the Minister of State at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office
(Mr Peter Hain) says:
"The UK is committed
to an early and successful enlargement. In his speech in Warsaw
in October 2000, the Prime Minister called for the first candidates
to join the EU in time to participate in the 2004 European Parliament
elections. He was instrumental in helping the Swedish Presidency
secure this as a declared EU objective at the Gothenburg European
Council in June.
"The Government agrees with the Commission's
conclusion that the roadmap is a valuable tool to ensure that
both Member States and Candidates work towards this timetable.
At Gothenburg, the EU confirmed that the Belgian and Spanish Presidencies
would pursue the road map with undiminished vigour. We are committed
to helping them do so and welcome the good progress achieved so
far under the Belgian Presidency.
"The Government takes the following position
on the chapters marked for special attention over the course of
the Belgian Presidency:
Transport: the Government supports
full liberalisation of the EU road transport sector, from accession,
to those new Member States that comply with the acquis in that
Taxation: tobacco smuggling is a significant
problem for the UK. 1 in 4 packets of cigarettes in the UK have
been illegally imported from countries with lower excise rates.
There is a fear that enlargement will further increase UK vulnerability
Agriculture: the Government considers
that steady progress has been made in this area. Further technical
consultations will be necessary to reach agreement on candidate
compliance with the acquis. The Government strongly supports CAP
reform and enlargement, and is pursuing both objectives in parallel.
Although CAP reform is clearly a high priority and is necessary
in itself, it is not necessary before enlargement takes place.
But for enlargement to be successful in the long term, further
reforms will be needed;
Justice and Home Affairs: the Government
welcomes the considerable progress made under the Belgian Presidency
in this area, notably on Schengen;
Energy: the Government agrees with
the recommendations set out in the Atomic Questions Group's (AQG)
June report, to which experts from all Member States contributed.
Commitments to close non-upgradeable units of Nuclear Power Plants
(NPP) in candidate countries must be respected. Concerning upgradeable
units, where candidates have agreed to comply with the AQG's recommendations,
these should not be an obstacle to accession; and
Free Movement of Capital / Persons:
the EU has agreed a Common Position on these chapters. We look
forward to closing this chapter with all candidates that have
not yet done so.
"The Government welcomes the Commission's intention
to emphasise in its annual progress reports the importance of
implementing and enforcing the acquis, and the need for
candidate countries to develop the administrative capacity to
do so. This is a vital part of the enlargement process. It will
be particularly important in areas such as the Single Market,
border security, food safety, corruption and judicial reform.
"The Government is committed to the EU's principle
of differentiation: allowing each candidate to progress in the
negotiations on its own merits. And we welcome the Commission's
intention to develop an enlargement strategy for those candidates
that expect to accede to the EU after 2004.
"The Government agrees that the recent adoption
of a series of constitutional amendments by the Turkish Grand
National Assembly is an important step forward in its candidature,
as set out at the Helsinki European Council. As the paper notes,
Turkey has a valuable contribution to make to the UN Secretary-General's
efforts to achieve a settlement. The UN Security Council, in its
press statement of 26 September, expressed disappointment at the
unjustified decision by the Turkish side to decline the Secretary
General's invitation to a further set of talks and noted that
progress could only be made at the negotiating table. The UK continues
to urge Turkey to contribute as fully as possible to the UN settlement
process and do all it can to get Denktash back to the negotiating
"The Government agrees that enlargement is an
important historical opportunity and crucial to securing peace,
prosperity and stability on our continent. The events of 11 September
make the need for enlargement all the more evident. Enlargement
brings with it many benefits for the UK. It will create the largest
single market in the world, with nearly 500 million consumers.
UK companies will benefit from cheaper inputs, a larger and more
diverse labour market, technology transfers and economies of scale.
Independent research estimates that enlargement will create 300,000
new jobs across the current EU. Consumers will benefit from a
wider range of goods at cheaper prices. And enlargement will enhance
and extend co-operation in tackling environmental problems as
well as in fighting international crime, drug smuggling and terrorism."
24.11 Turkey is the only applicant country
which has yet to meet the political part of the Copenhagen accession
criteria and which, therefore, has not yet started formal negotiations
with the EU. The performance of other applicants against all three
sections of the criteria continue to be measured and the Commission
progress reports, due to be adopted on 13 November, can be expected
to spell out areas of weakness where greater efforts are required.
24.12 We expect that the progress reports
will cover the same ground as this mid-term review, in greater
detail. We, therefore, see no need to hold it under scrutiny and
we clear the document.
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