PART 2 SUMMARY OF THE OPINION
OF THE COMMITTEE |
6. This Part of the
Report highlights what we consider to be the most important elements
of our Opinion which are set out in more detail in paragraph 1
and, generally, in Part 5. The numbers given in bold type in brackets
at the end of each paragraph are those of the more detailed paragraphs.
7. Enlargement, if successful,
could lead to unparalleled security and stability for the peoples
of Europe. If the opportunity is missed there could be a slide
towards the tensions and instability which have so disfigured
Europe in this century (1).
8. Successful enlargement
will not be brought about easily. There are difficult problems
to be overcome, both political and economic, for both the EU15
and the CEEC10. New relationships between Member States and between
the European institutions will have to be forged (75).
9. Given political will,
Agenda 2000 charts, in broad terms, a realistic route ahead.
National governments need to face the uncomfortable decisions
to be taken without harmful delay (76).
10. The enlargement
now foreseen is of a different order of magnitude from any that
has happened in the past. It is a challenge of momentous consequence
11. National governments,
conscious of their electors and approaching elections, will not
wish to pay more to, or receive less from, the Community Budget
than they do at present (78).
12. The annual rate
of economic growth estimated by the Commission for 2000-2006 for
the EU15 (2.5 per cent) is uncertain and that for the CEEC10 (4
per cent) highly uncertain. If growth in the EU15 fell below an
annual average of 2.0 per cent the Community would have to reduce
spending on agreed policies, (to support enlargement, agriculture
and rural development and the Structural Funds and the Cohesion
Fund), or, the more unattractive option, to increase its income
by raising the own resources ceiling above the 1.27 per cent of
EU GNP. It is important to stimulate economic growth if the Community's
policies are to remain affordable (79-82).
13. It will take 25
years or so at reasonable rates of growth for the CEECs to bring
their average per capita GNP up to roughly half that of the EU15.
Even to narrow the gap to this extent will require assistance
from the Community to the new Member States for at least a generation
after their accession. We do not see this long period as a reason
for delaying enlargement (83).
14. The political realities
are that the "own resources" ceiling of 1.27 per cent
of EU GNP is unlikely to be increased after 1999. This may not
provide sufficient funds to support enlargement. The financial
perspective to be agreed for 2000-2006 should contain provision
for review before 2002 of the "own resources" ceiling.
15. Reform of the Common
Agricultural Policy is pivotal to the financing of enlargement.
Reform of the Structural and Cohesion Funds is also required.
If these reforms are not made, enlargement cannot be financed
as proposed in Agenda 2000. National governments do not
appear to recognise the sheer scale of the enlargement undertaking
and the political will to accomplish these reforms is not yet
16. The applicant countries
may not find it possible to adopt, implement and enforce the acquis
by 2002. The total costs incurred are likely to exceed the EU's
funding for enlargement. EU funding will need to be substantially
augmented by resources from the international financial institutions
and other private sources (91-94).
17. The first group
of accessions may be delayed beyond 2002 for a number of years
by political and economic problems: mainly political in the EU15
and mainly economic in the CEEC10 (76-94).
18. The British rebate
is a source of dissension in many of the other Member States of
the EU, particularly in Germany. There will be strong political
pressure for recognition before 2006 that a new system of national
contributions to the Community Budget, that is accepted as fair
and transparent, will have to be devised (89).
19. EU Structural Funds
are provided for long-term development and not to enhance domestic
transfer payments. But we cannot foresee the impact of EMU on
less developed or vulnerable regions and we cannot rule out that
consideration may have to be given to remedial measures at national
or Union level. (90).
20. Building strong,
honest institutions should be given a higher priority than in
the past in the programmes of aid from the EU to the applicant
countries. Without such institutions funds will be wasted or mis-applied
or used corruptly (95-97).
21. It is vital the
scale and the timing of costs incurred by the enlargement of NATO
and of the EU should be looked at in a coordinated way (98).
22. The 5+1 approach
to opening negotiations should be supported in preference to "the
regatta approach" (99).
23. The institutional
reforms of the large Member States giving up their second Commissioner
and the modification of the weighting of the votes in the Council,
(foreshadowed in a Protocol to the Treaty of Amsterdam), should
be agreed well before the first accessions are ready. The need
for this reform must not be used as a pretext for delaying enlargement
24. Applicants not in
the first 5 need to be made aware of the precise criteria to be
met before their negotiations for accession can start and to be
reassured that their accession will take place as soon as they
are ready (102).
25. The politics and
the economics of enlargement are inextricably mixed. The prospect
of accession has stimulated reform in the CEECs and has encouraged
inward investment. The appearance of unnecessary delay in enlargement
will put this virtuous circle at risk. We urge that every effort
should be made to avoid such delay, although we see ample opportunities
for it to occur (103).