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2002-10-26 21:44:37

Presidency Conclusions from the Brussels European Council on 24 and 25 October 2002 can be found below (Only the part relating to enlargement).
24 AND 25 OCTOBER 2002

1. The historic process launched in Copenhagen in 1993 to overcome the divisions throughout our continent is about to bear fruit. It is a tribute to the vision and the efforts by Candidate and Member States that the biggest ever enlargement of the Union is now within reach.

In this context the European Council warmly welcomed the positive result of the Irish referendum. The result has paved the way for completing ratification of the Nice Treaty, thereby allowing the Treaty to enter into force early next year.

Against this background the European Council took decisions that will allow the Union to present negotiating positions to the candidate States on all outstanding issues by early November at the latest, with a view to concluding enlargement negotiations with the first countries at the European Council in Copenhagen in December. The European Council also established guidelines for continuing the process with those countries not included in the first enlargement.

2. The Union endorses the findings and recommendations of the Commission that Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, the Slovak Republic and Slovenia fulfil the political criteria and will be able to fulfil the economic criteria and to assume the obligations of membership from the beginning of 2004.

3. In view of the above, and also taking into consideration the overall progress achieved in the accession negotiations, as well as in transposing and implementing the acquis and the commitments undertaken in the negotiations by the candidates, the Union confirms its determination to conclude accession negotiations with these countries at the European Council in Copenhagen on 12-13 December and sign the Accession Treaty in Athens in April 2003.

4. The Union reiterates its preference for a reunited Cyprus to join the European Union on the basis of a comprehensive settlement, and urges the leaders of the Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot communities to seize the opportunity and reach an agreement before the end of the accession negotiations this year. The Union will continue to fully support the substantial efforts of the Secretary-General of the United Nations for reaching a settlement, consistent with the relevant UN Security Council resolutions. The European Union will accommodate the terms of such a comprehensive settlement in the Treaty of Accession in line with the principles on which the European Union is founded. In the absence of a settlement, the decisions to be taken in December by the Copenhagen European Council will be based on the conclusions set out by the Helsinki European Council in 1999.

5. The Union agrees with the Commission's evaluation of the progress achieved by Bulgaria and Romania. In the light of the inclusive and irreversible nature of the enlargement process and based upon the Commission's Strategy Paper, the Council and the Commission are invited to prepare, in close consultations with Bulgaria and Romania, the necessary decisions at the European Council in Copenhagen concerning first of all detailed roadmaps, including timetables, and increased pre-accession assistance in order to advance the accession process with these countries. The European Council expresses its support for Bulgaria and Romania in their efforts to achieve the objective of membership in 2007.

6. The Union welcomes the important steps taken by Turkey towards meeting the Copenhagen political criteria and the fact that Turkey has moved forward on the economic criteria and alignment with the acquis, as registered in the Commission's Regular Report. This has brought forward the opening of accession negotiations with Turkey. The Union encourages Turkey to pursue its reform process and to take further concrete steps in the direction of implementation, which will advance Turkey's accession in accordance with the same principles and criteria as are applied to the other candidate States. The Council is invited to prepare in time for the Copenhagen European Council the elements for deciding on the next stage of Turkey's candidature, on the basis of the Commission's Strategy Paper and in accordance with the conclusions of the European Councils in Helsinki, Laeken and Seville.

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