Monday 8 November 2004, by European Council
The Convention and the IGC
Success of Convention
The European Council welcomed the Draft Constitutional Treaty prepared by the Convention on the Future of Europe. They stated that the Convention had "proven its usefulness as a forum for democratic dialogue between representatives of governments, national parliaments, the European Parliament, the European Commission and civic society".
Completion Of Work
The European Council considered that the presentation of the Draft Constitutional Treaty marked the completion of the Convention’s tasks. However it would continue with some technical re-drafting until 15 July.
Convening An IGC
The text of the Draft Constitutional Treaty was "a good basis for starting in the Intergovernmental Conference (IGC). It called on the Italian Council Presidency to make the necessary arrangements for the IGC to commence meeting in October. The acceding countries will participate fully in the IGC on an equal footing with current Member States. The three candidate countries (Bulgaria, Romania and Turkey) will take part in all meetings of the IGC as observers.
Timetable For A New Treaty
The IGC should complete its tasks as soon as possible, "and in time for it to become known to European citizens before the June 2004 elections for the European Parliament". The new treaty will be signed by the Member States of an enlarged Union as soon as possible after 1 May 2004.
Immigration, Frontiers and Asylum
The European Council stressed that, following the feasibility study by the Commission on the Visa Information System (VIS), orientations should be determined as soon as possible in order to satisfy the preferred option.
The European Council stressed the importance of assuring the continuity and coherence of Community action in the field of management of external borders by setting out priorities and determining a more structured framework and methods. It invited the Commission to examine in due course the necessity of creating new institutional mechanisms, including the possible creation of a Community operational structure, in order to enhance operational cooperation for the management of external borders.
The European Council invited the Commission to examine all aspects relating to the establishment of a separate Community instrument in order to support, in particular, the priorities as set out in the Return Action Programme approved by the Council, and to report back to it by the end of 2003.
The European Council reaffirmed that the EU dialogue and actions with third countries in the field of migration should be part of an overall integrated, comprehensive and balanced approach. In this respect, it recognises the importance of developing an evaluation mechanism to monitor relations with third countries which do not co-operate with the EU in combating illegal immigration,
The European Council emphasised that the principle of solidarity must be consolidated and must be made more concrete, notably in terms of reinforced operational co-operation. It invited the Commission to examine the possibility of appropriating funds under heading 3 of the financial perspective in order to address, during the period 2004-2006, the most pressing structural needs in this area and to cover a wider definition of solidarity that would include Community support in the management of external borders, the implementation of the Return Action Programme and the development of the Visa Information System (VIS). In this respect, it noted the Commission’s relevant analysis and that its estimated needs amount to €140 million.
The European Council reaffirmed the importance of establishing a more efficient asylum system within the EU and took note of the Communication from the Commission, which focused on more accessible, equitable and managed asylum systems. It invited the Commission to explore all parameters in order to ensure more orderly and managed entry in the EU of persons in need of international protection, and to examine ways and means to enhance the protection capacity of regions of origin with a view to presenting to the Council, before June 2004 a comprehensive report suggesting measures to be taken, including legal implications.
The European Council encouraged the ten acceding States in the coming months to keep up their efforts so that they are fully prepared to assume the obligations of membership by accession.
It stressed that Bulgaria and Romania are part of the same inclusive and irreversible enlargement process and reiterated that the objective was to welcome them as members in 2007. It also welcomed the commitment of the Turkish government to carry forward the reform process, in particular the remaining legislative work by the end of 2003, and supports its on-going efforts made in order to fulfill the Copenhagen political criteria for opening accession negotiations with the Union.
Towards a solution of the Cyprus Problem
The European Council urged all parties concerned, and in particular Turkey and the Turkish Cypriot leadership, to strongly support the UN Secretary General’s efforts to reach a comprehensive settlement of the Cyprus problem and called for an early resumption of the talks on the basis of his proposals. It also welcomed the Commission’s Communication on promoting economic development in the northern part of Cyprus and looks forward to the implementation of these measures in accordance with the Copenhagen European Council Conclusions and in consultation with the Government of Cyprus.
Follow-up to Spring European Council Meeting
BEPGs and Employment Guidelines Endorsed
The European Council endorsed the draft Broad Economic Policy Guidelines and the draft Employment Guidelines. It welcomed the fact that both sets of guidelines now cover a period of three years and are presented in a new, concise format, with clear recommendations for policy action. It called on Member States to ensure consistency and coherence in the implementation of both sets of guidelines.
The Heads of State or Government decided in favour on the candidacy of Jean-Claude Trichet for the presidency of the European Central Bank.
Lisbon Reform Agenda
The European Council took note of the various developments in relation to the Lisbon reform agenda. In particular, it welcomed the final adoption of the tax package and of the Internal Market energy package and the agreements reached on Better Regulation, as well as on the Second Railway Package and the decision authorising the Commission to open negotiations with the US in air transport; on the re-use of public sector documents and the establishment of the European Network and Information Security Agency; on the Erasmus Mundus and the e-Learning programmes; the Intelligent Energy for Europe programme and the decision on energy TENs; and on the environmental liability Directive.
Trans-European Networks (TENs)
The European Council noted the Commission’s intention to launch an initiative in co-operation with the European Investment Bank to support growth and integration by increasing overall investment and private sector involvement in TENs and major R&D projects and in this context invited the Italian Presidency to pursue this further.
Thessaloniki European Council Presidency Conclusions
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