Konklusionerne fra Det Europæiske Råds møde i Biarritz
Informal European Council in Biarritz (13 - 14 October 2000): Report
As for an Informal Council, there are no written conclusions. This text is a summary of the Council works, written by the editorial team of the website of the French Presidency of the European Union, according to information provided by the President of the European Council at the press conference.
I. The IGC
Reform of the Union's institutions, within a view to its enlargement, has been the subject of several hours of intense discussion among the Heads of State and of Government. All are in agreement to fix as their objective an ambitious future Treaty of Nice, that responds to the challenge of enlargement.
Real progress has been made on questions relating to qualified majority and reinforced co-operation.
With respect to the first point, an agreement already exists to have a large number of articles for which unanimity is required today pass over to the qualified majority vote. For the more difficult questions, whether, in particular, in the fiscal domain, social questions or problems relating to justice and internal affairs, the stakes have been clarified and ways to solutions have been identified.
With respect to reinforced co-operation, a large consensus exists on the principles that should govern, in particular the characterisation of openness and the necessity of respecting, in this framework, things already acquired by the Community. The procedures of initiating reinforced co-operation will be the subject matter of complementary deliberation in view of reaching an overall agreement.
On the more sensitive themes of reform of the Commission and the weighting of votes, negotiation is now well underway.
With respect to the Commission, the necessity of its reorganisation in order for it to be reinforced and made more efficient is not contested. Two projects are on the table, between which it will be necessary to choose in Nice, all while keeping the Union's interests in mind: either creating a ceiling for the number of Commissioners, with equal turns among all the member States; or, a Commission with at least one national representative by member State, which poses the question of its reorganisation.
As concerns the weighting of votes, two options are also on the table: either a simple re-weighting, or a system of double majority. There again, the French Presidency will attempt, between now and Nice, to arrive at the best solution for the good future functioning of the Union within the context of its enlargement and necessarily taking into account democratic legitimateness in the decision-making process.
In addition, it has been decided to ask the inter-governmental conference to examine the proposals aimed at reinforcing article 7 of the Treaty on the European Union, so that the risk of violation of fundamental principles of the EU by a member State may be avoided.
II. The European Union's Charter of Fundamental Rights
After having listened to a report by G. Braibant, in the name of President Herzog, absent for health reasons, the European Council approved the content of the charter of fundamental rights and congratulated itself on the contribution this text brings to the model for values and society that the European Union constitutes.
Once formally adopted by the European Commission and the European Parliament, this text will be solemnly announced by the European Council of Nice.
III. Other Community Subjects
The Oil Price Crisis
The informal European Council debate reflected the collective desire of the member States to better co-ordinate their policies in face of the consequences of increased prices for oil products. The accent was placed on the priority nature of discussions with producer countries.
To this end, the European Council entrusted the French Presidency with the care of co-ordinating a common statement by the Union during the meeting between producer countries and consumer countries to be held at Riyad from next 17 to 19 November.
With respect to medium and long-term actions, the members of the European Council, inspired by the recommendations of the Commission, expressed their desire to reduce Europe's energy vulnerability.
The European Council had an exchange of views on the basis of the communication presented by the Commission. The progress already recorded in the area of control over vessels and the elimination of oil carriers with a single hull and in the examination of the proposals the Commission is getting ready to make concerning supervision of maritime traffic and the financial responsibility of operators should allow for a coherent and global strategy by the Union to be arrived at in Nice in the area of maritime security.
IV. International Political Matters
During lunch on the first day of the Council, the Heads of State and of Government confronted the situation of violence and the risk of general conflagration in this area of the world, ever-present to the mind all throughout this Council. The Fifteen of Europe adopted a statement calling the Israeli and Palestinian leaders and peoples to renounce any use of violence by letting reason and tolerance take the precedence over fear, hatred and extremism and requested the Israeli Prime Minister and the President of the Palestinian Authority to accept the invitation made to them by President Moubarak to participate in the summit meeting in Charm El Cheikh. The High Representative for the CFSP, Mr. Solana, was dispatched to this summit meeting to represent the European Union.
The meeting between President Kostunica and the European Union's Heads of State and of Government in Biarritz underlined the desire to establish new relations with the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. The Fifteen of Europe confirmed their entire support of President Kostunica in consolidating democracy and engaging his neighbours in confident dialogue.
The Zagreb conference, by reinforcing the relation between the European Union and the Western Balkan countries, will encourage peace and stability in this area.
In addition, the President of the European Commission, Mr. Romano Prodi, announced concrete proposals to the European Council members for urgent assistance to Serbia in an amount of approximately 200M euros, in order to face the food and energy needs, in particular, of the populations. This prospect was approved by the Heads of State and of Government.