WORK PROGRAMME OF THE SPANISH PRESIDENCY
Brussels, 15 January 2002
The enlargement process, which Spain and the
Spanish public opinion have always wholeheartedly supported, is
undoubtedly one of the priorities of the Spanish Presidency. Spain
is well aware of the historic relevance of this process leading
to the reunification of Europe and wishes to underline its irreversibility.
The objectives of the Spanish Presidency can
be traced back to the Conclusions of the European Councils of
Göteborg and Laeken. Spain intends to make a decisive contribution
to ensuring that negotiations with all those candidate countries
which are prepared can be concluded by the end of the second half
The principle of differentiation will continue
to be applied in the negotiations and all candidate countries
will be judged according to their own merits.
The Spanish Presidency will do its utmost to
comply with the targets of the "road map" and commits
itself to trying to reach a common position of the European Union
in all the chapters assigned by the "road map" for the
first semester of 2002 (Agriculture, Regional Policy, Financial
and Budgetary Provisions and Institutions), with a view to closing
them provisionally if the necessary conditions are met.
Spain acknowledges the excellent achievements
of the previous presidencies and will spare no effort to complete
the negotiations on those chapters that still remain open.
Eighty-five chapters are still under negotiation
and another thirty-eight must be opened. At this stage, the most
complex and sensitive chapters need to be addressed, in particular
those of financial content. Spain is very keen on conducting the
negotiations on the basis of the principles laid down at the Laeken
European Council, that is to say, the existing acquis and the
financial framework established at Berlin.
Spain is aware of the extraordinary progress
made by the candidate countries throughout the accession process
and invites them to continue their efforts to fulfil the conditions
for membership unabatedly. This will allow the Spanish Presidency
to pursue the negotiations as scheduled.
The Spanish Presidency also considers a close
co-operation with the Commission indispensable. The early presentation
by the Commission of proposals to the Council in the fields of
agriculture, regional policy and budgetary issues is of paramount
importance. The Spanish Presidency is looking forward to receiving
the proposals from the Commission in such a way as to allow the
negotiations to be pursued at a sustained and balanced rhythm.
Spain also counts on the support of the Member
States in order to carry out the very exacting agenda foreseen
for the negotiations over the next six months.
A first general assessment of the effective
implementation of the acquis by the candidate countries will be
carried out by the European Council at Seville on the basis of
the Action Plan to be drawn up by the Commission.
The drafting committee for the Act of Accession
will also be established during the Spanish Presidency. The committee
is scheduled to start working as from the month of March.
One of the Presidency's objectives is also to
boost as much as possible the negotiations with Bulgaria and Romania.
At Laeken, the efforts that they had made were recognised, and
they were encouraged to continue to pursue the same course. Moreover,
as a token of specific backing, the Commission was asked for a
precise framework that included a time-table and an adjusted work
plan that would make it possible to tackle all the chapters with
these two candidate countries in 2002. Spain intends to address
all the pending chapters with Bulgaria during this first six-months
period, and will strive to do the same in respect of Romania as
long as and when the necessary information and data are made available.
Support will be given to the efforts being made
as part of the on-going United Nations-sponsored drive to work
out a political settlement for the Cyprus issue.
In line with the conclusions of the Laeken European
Council, the Spanish Presidency will encourage Turkey's pre-accession
strategy, which should mark a new stage in analysing its preparedness
for alignment on the acquis and, if required, set new objectives
in the accession process.
In principle, two Accession Conferences at Deputy
level will be organised on 21 and 22 March and on 19 and 22 of
April. Should the need arise, other Conferences at Deputy level
could also be held. The Accession Conference at Ministerial level
will take place on 10 and 11 June 2002.
The Spanish Presidency attaches great importance
to exploring new formulas of participation in order to further
familiarise candidates with the EU's working methods, including
meetings, at the highest level. For this reason, it plans to invite
the Heads of State, Prime Ministers, Ministers of Foreign Affairs
as well as Ministers of Economy of candidate countries to take
part in the first day meeting of the Barcelona European Council
on Friday, March 15.
The Spanish Presidency considers it essential
to ensure the necessary continuity in the negotiations and therefore
wishes to offer its close co-operation to the future Danish Presidency.