25 November 1997
By the Select Committee appointed
to consider Community proposals, whether in draft or otherwise,
to obtain all necessary information about them, and to make reports
on those which, in the opinion of the Committee, raise important
questions of policy or principle, and on other questions to which
the Committee considers that the special attention of the House
should be drawn.
ORDERED TO REPORT
THE FINANCIAL CONSEQUENCES
9984/97 COM(97) 2000:Commission Communication
Agenda 2000: The EC Budget 2000-2006; and Reform of the
Structural and Cohesion Policy
PART 1 INTRODUCTION
Accession to the European Union
is widely seen in the countries of the former eastern bloc as
an integral part of re-joining the historic culture of Europe
to which they belonged before the tide of communism engulfed them.
It is seen as a coming home.
1. Enlargement of the
European Union to bring in the countries of Central and Eastern
Europe is no longer a dream-there is now a practical and immediate
opportunity to set a course which will re-shape the political,
economic and social life of the whole continent. If enlargement
is successful the peoples of Europe could enjoy conditions of
security and stability without parallel in their history. If enlargement
is stalled or mismanaged not only would this opportunity be lost
but there could be a slide towards the tensions and instability
which have so disfigured Europe in this century.
2. The publication of
the Commission's Communication, Agenda 2000, in July 1997,
signalled a new urgency in the consideration being given by the
institutions of the Union to the practical issues of enlargement.
The Communication sets out a proposed timetable for the negotiations
leading to enlargement; it outlines reforms to the Common Agricultural
Policy and the Structural and Cohesion Funds which it sees as
essential to pave the way to enlargement; and it proposes a new
financial perspective for the years 2000-2006 within which the
pre- and post-accession costs of enlargement to the Community
Budget can be contained.
3. We thought it would
be helpful to carry out an enquiry in the light of Agenda 2000
into the financial consequences of enlargement, so far as they
could presently be foreseen. The enquiry was conducted between
the end of the Summer Recess and the end of November so that a
report could be made to the House before the Luxembourg European
Council on 12 December when decisions are expected on the opening
of the negotiations intended to lead to accession of the applicant
4. Part 2 of the Report
is a Summary of the Opinion of the Committee. It highlights what
we consider to be the most important elements of our Opinion which
are generally set out in more detail in Part 5. Part 3 provides
background. Part 4 summarises the evidence of the witnesses on
the major issues which arose during the enquiry. Part 5 sets out
the Opinion of the Committee on those issues.
5. The enquiry was carried
out by Sub-Committee A. The membership of the Sub-Committee during
the enquiry is listed at Appendix 1. We are grateful to all our
witnesses and particularly to the Economic Secretary to the Treasury,
the two European Commissioners, the two chairmen of Committees
of the European Parliament and to the distinguished representatives
of the governments of Estonia, Germany and Poland who gave oral
evidence. Witnesses are listed at Appendix 2.