Seville European Council reaffirms Helsinki conclusions
By Rebekah Gregoriades--
Seville, Jun 22 (CNA) - The European Council, convening in Seville, notes in
the draft presidency conclusions that it fully supports UN efforts to reunite
Cyprus and urges the leaders of the two communities on the island to
intensify their efforts in this direction.
The Spanish presidency reaffirms the Helsinki summit conclusions, that a solution to the Cyprus problem is not a precondition for EU accession and notes that the EU would accomodate the terms of a comprehensive settlement in the Treaty of Accession, in line with the principles on which the EU is founded.
On enlargement in general, the presidency notes that "decisive progress has been made in the accession negotiations during the first six months of the year" and that "the negotiations are now entering their final phase".|
"The road map adopted in Nice has been followed with the adoption of common positions concerning the chapters on Agriculture, Regional Policy and Coordination of Structural Instuments, Financial and Budgetary Provisions, and Institutions", the presidency notes, adding that "financial and other questions which were not dealth with when common positions were finalised on these chapters will need to be settled as soon as possible, while taking into account the conclusions of the General Affairs Concil on 17 June 2002.
As regards compliance with the accession criteria, the European Council "stresses that it is important that the candidate countries should continue to make progress in the implementation and effective application of the acquis" and points out that "the candidate countries must take all necessary measures to bring their administrative and judicial capacity up to the required level".
In this connection, the European Council "welcomes the Commission report on the specific action plans in this area and on the follow-up of commitments undertaken during negotiations, singling out in particular the conclusions of the Council on 10 June 2002 in the fields of justice and home affairs and of the veterinary and plant health acquis".
Taking into consideration all factors and in order to enable the European Council to be held in the coming autumn to decide which will be the candidate countries with which negotiations can be concluded at the end of 2002, the presidency notes that "the Council will have to take the appropriate decisions in order to communicate all the items lacking in the financial package to the candidate countries in early November and the Commission will have to draft appropriate recommendations in the light of the regular reports".
The European Council "reaffirms that, if the present rate of progress in negotiations and reforms is maintained, the EU is determined to conclude the negotiations with Cyprus, Malta, Hungary, Poland, the Slovak Republic, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, the Czech Republic and Slovenia by the end of 2002".
"Drafting of the Treaty of Accession should continue so that it can be completed as soon as possible after the conclusion of the accession negotiations. It would seem reasonable to expect that these countries should participate in the elections for the European Parliament in 2004 as full members. However, this common aim can be realised within the time frame envisaged only if each candidate country adopts a realistic and constructive approach", it adds.
In respect of the accession of Cyprus, the presidency notes that "the Helsinki conclusions are the basis of the EU's position" and that "the EU's preference continues to be for the accession of a reunited island".
The European Council "fully supports the efforts of the UN Secretary General and calls upon the leaders of the Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot communities to intensify and expedite their talks in order to seize this unique window of opportunity for a comprehensive settlement, hopefully before conclusion of the negotiations".
The presidency notes that "the EU would accomodate the terms of such a comprehensive settlement in the Treaty of Accession in line with the principles on which the EU is founded".
It adds that "as a member state, Cyprus will need to speak with a single voice and ensure proper application of EU law" and that "the EU would make a substantial financial contribution in support of the development of the northern part of a reunited island".
Regarding Turkey, the presidency's conclusions note that "the European Council welcomes the reforms recently adopted in Turkey and encourages and fully supports the efforts made by Turkey to fulfil the priorities defined in its Accession Partnership".
The presidency adds that "the implementation of the required political and economic reforms will bring forward Turkey's prospects of accession in accordance with the same principles and criteria as are applied to the other candidate countries" and that "new decisions could be taken in Copenhagen on the next stage of Turkey's candidature in the light of developments in the situation between the Seville and Copenhagen European Councils and on the basis of the regular report to be submitted by the Commission in October 2002".
The conclusions, to be adopted today, also include chapters on the future of the Union, asylum and immigration, sustainable development, employment, and external relations. They also include a declaration on the Middle East and a statement on India and Pakistan.