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Wednesday, 3 July 2002 - Strasbourg OJ edition

2. Programme of Danish Presidency

  President. – The next item is the statement by the President-in-Office of the Council on the programme of the Danish presidency.

By way of introducing this item, I should like to thank on behalf of Parliament and the presidents of the groups, the Danish presidency for inviting us to Copenhagen in advance of the formal start for an extensive discussion with the incoming presidency on its priorities. I note that the President-in-Office of the Council, Prime Minister Rasmussen will exceptionally participate in our major debate next November on enlargement, even though he will not be reporting on the work of the European Council. We anticipate before the close of the presidency at the Copenhagen Summit an intensive dialogue with the group leaders from Parliament.

These are all innovative aspects showing a commitment to partnership between the institutions. I should like, on behalf of Parliament, to express formally to the President-in-Office our appreciation of the extent and intensity of these efforts and of this innovation.


  Fogh Rasmussen, Council.(DA) Mr President, honourable Members, honourable Members of the European Commission, ladies and gentlemen, it is a very great honour for me to speak in this Parliament for the first time here today. It is with particular pleasure that I do so as President-in-Office of the European Council with a view to presenting the priorities of the Danish Presidency of the EU. I look forward to the subsequent debate concerning the tasks ahead of us.

The European Parliament is an important and constructive force in the development of European cooperation and I am sure that this will continue to be true in the months ahead, in which we face a number of decisions of crucial importance for the future of the EU. The Danish Presidency is therefore preparing for close cooperation with the European Parliament.

The Danish Presidency wishes to strengthen the cooperation between the institutions of the EU. I know that the European Parliament shares this desire. We will seek to promote contacts and cooperation between the institutions. We intend to hold summits between Parliament, the Commission and the Presidency ahead of the European Council meetings in Brussels and Copenhagen.

We face important decisions in connection with our common decision making. The Presidency will demonstrate efficiency and flexibility and looks forward to fruitful cooperation. We have a new budget to pass. Here, too, the Presidency is ready for constructive and results-oriented negotiations.

Denmark attaches great importance to the work of the European Parliament and the Presidency will be well represented at all plenary sessions. In this connection a central role will be taken by our European Affairs Minister Bertel Haarder, a former Member of this Parliament.


A number of other Danish ministers will also participate in plenary debates in the coming months. I myself will keep Parliament informed following the European Council in Brussels and give a report at the end of the presidency following the summit in Copenhagen. In addition, I will participate in the great debate concerning enlargement which will take place on 19 November.

We have given our presidency programme the title “One Europe”. In so doing we are emphasising the significance that we attach to enlargement and to broader cooperation on our continent. The programme contains a detailed account of our aims and plans in the individual areas. Here today I will concentrate on the main themes.

The main headings of the programme are:

Firstly: Enlargement of the EU – from Copenhagen to Copenhagen. A decision on enlargement of the EU will be made at the summit in Copenhagen in December.

Secondly: Freedom, security and justice – we shall strengthen the fight against terrorism, crime and illegal immigration.

Thirdly: Sustainable development – economic, social and environmental. We will work towards ensuring that economic growth goes hand –in hand with protection of the environment and improvements in employment.

Fourthly: Safe food. We will work towards better food safety, review the agricultural policy and overhaul the common fisheries policy.

Fifthly: The EU’s global responsibility. We shall strengthen the common foreign and security policy, expand the strong links between Europe and the USA and work towards a global agreement between the rich and poor countries of the world.

At the European Council meeting in Seville a number of decisions were made concerning the frameworks for the Council’s work in the light of enlargement. I welcome these decisions. We will seek as far as possible to implement them as early as during the Danish Presidency. This applies not least to the decisions concerning greater openness in the work of the Council. Overall it is our ambition to secure the greatest possible degree of openness surrounding the work of the Danish Presidency.


The enlargement of the EU is the most important task of the Danish Presidency. I will deal with this important subject fully later on in my contribution, but first I would like to comment on the other topics in the Presidency’s programme.

Alongside enlargement, the Danish Presidency attaches great importance to honouring other significant items on the EU’s agenda. We want to focus on four areas in particular:

Firstly, we want to work towards greater freedom, security and justice.

The Danish Presidency will give high priority to combating cross-border crime and to implementing the EU’s action plan for combating terrorism. We will attach importance to developing strong international cooperation – not least with the USA.

The Presidency will also follow up the conclusions of the European Council in Seville concerning asylum, immigration and border controls. A number of forward-looking, concrete and balanced decisions were taken here which form a good basis for the work under the Danish Presidency.

Secondly, the Danish Presidency will work towards sustainable development – economic, social and environmental.

We will prioritise the implementation of the internal market and the development of economic cooperation between EU Member States. A strong and competitive European economy is essential for growth, prosperity, increased employment and sustainable development. We must be able to keep up with the global competition – not least in respect of the USA.

Further, the Danish Presidency will focus on food. We want to work to secure safe food. Food safety – from the soil to the table – is a very important task for the EU. Under the Danish Presidency we will seek to make concrete progress in this area.

Discussions concerning reform of the common agricultural policy will also be initiated during the Danish Presidency. We will give this work considerable priority and seek to advance it as far as is humanly possible; but I would like to emphasise that this is a discussion which must take place independently of the negotiations concerning enlargement of the EU. We will not accept the imposition of new conditions for enlargement.


Finally, the Presidency will give priority to the work on a new common fisheries policy for the Member States. This is an extensive and difficult task. The Commission’s proposal forms a good and serious basis for further work.

The EU’s global responsibility is the final main topic of the Danish Presidency.

The EU has a particular responsibility for peace and stability in a world that is coming ever closer together. That applies not least in the fight against international terrorism and in our efforts to reduce poverty in the world.

Development of the common security and defence policy (ESDP) will also be continued over the coming six months. Due to the Danish opt-out in the area of defence, work concerning the military aspects of the cooperation will be led by Greece and I would like to emphasise that we will endeavour to ensure that there is smooth and efficient cooperation between the two presidencies on this point.

The Danish Presidency will be marked by a number of notable international summits.

The EU must and will assume a central role at the World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg. We will work on the basis of the frameworks laid down at the summit in Seville. It is the intention of the Danish Presidency to secure as ambitious a result as is humanly possible. The aim is a forward-looking global agreement that places obligations on rich and poor countries alike; a global agreement in which the rich countries provide the poor countries with better development opportunities through free trade and increased development aid, while in return the developing countries commit themselves to good governance – i.e. democracy, respect for human rights, and open and free access to information.

Relations between Europe and Asia will be developed further at the ASEM summit in Copenhagen in September.

We will also pave the way for a strengthening of relationships with Russia and the EU’s new neighbours to the east – Ukraine, Belarus and Moldova. There is a need to formulate a new policy in respect of these countries.

A solution – based on the Schengen acquis – must be found to the particular circumstances surrounding Kaliningrad. It should be possible to reach a reasonable understanding with Russia on this basis. A summit will be held between the EU and Russia in Copenhagen in November and this summit will be a significant step in this whole process.

Let me return to the most important task that the Presidency faces in these six months, namely the conclusion of negotiations concerning enlargement of the EU by up to 10 new Member States. It was in Copenhagen in 1993 that the conditions for membership of the EU were defined and it may now be in Copenhagen in 2002 that the negotiations concerning enlargement are finalised. From Copenhagen to Copenhagen.

Our aim is to conclude the negotiations with all the applicant countries that are ready by the end of the year. This will make it possible for these countries to become members of the EU in 2004, i.e. before the next elections to the European Parliament.

At the same time, we want to advance negotiations with those countries that will not be ready for membership until a later point in time, and we want to strengthen links with the EU’s new and old neighbours.

I will apply three principles in the negotiations concerning enlargement of the EU:

Firstly, we will stand by the requirement that clear criteria must be met in order for a country to become a member of the EU. I hope that this will apply to ten countries; but I will not compromise on this fundamental requirement.

Secondly, no country shall have to wait for others. There are differences in the size of the countries, but not in their rights or obligations. If only some of the countries – and not all ten countries – are ready by December, we in Copenhagen must conclude the negotiations with those that are ready, and no country which is ready should have to wait for a country that is not ready.


Thirdly, we will stick to December 2002 as a decisive and binding deadline. Experience suggests that the EU is best at handling one major task at a time. The next six months have been set aside for enlargement. New tasks will then be pressing. In 2003 we must conclude the discussions in the Convention on the future of the European Union. In 2004 we will have the Intergovernmental Conference and the elections to the European Parliament, and in 2005 and 2006 we are to specify the frameworks for the next budget period.

I am not saying that it is now or never; however, if we do not seize the opportunity now we risk enlargement’s being substantially delayed. We have a moral and historic duty to achieve a good and positive result.


However, there are number of obstacles in our path which we near to clear out of the way.

Firstly, there is the question of funding. This applies in particular to the negotiations concerning agriculture, structural funds and budgets. In my opinion the Commission has submitted a well-balanced and reasonable proposal.

Some Member States consider the proposal too expensive. At the same time, the candidate countries are suggesting that the proposal is insufficient. In my opinion the Commission has found the right balance in its proposal.

At the summit in Seville we approved an ambitious timetable. It means that the EU must be able to notify the candidate countries of its common position on the matter of direct income subsidies to farmers by early November at the latest. The Danish Presidency will stick to this ambitious timetable.

The second central problem is the issue of Cyprus. Cyprus is doing well in the accession negotiations; it is one of the countries that have closed the most negotiation chapters – 28 out of 31 – and as a candidate country Cyprus has a right to become a member when the country is ready. Yet at the same time, the fact that the island is still divided is a problem. The European Council in Helsinki concluded that a solution to this problem would be advantageous for, but not a condition of, Cyprus’s accession to the EU. At the same time, however, it was emphasised that a final decision will be taken based on all relevant factors. The Danish Presidency will continue the work on this basis and I would like to stress that everyone involved – on both sides – should do their utmost to find a solution as quickly as possible.

Thirdly, the Irish referendum on the Nice Treaty represents an unknown factor. Approval of the Nice Treaty is essential if the enlargement is to be able to be implemented within the time frames set. Negotiations are taking place on the basis of the provisions of the Nice Treaty. Another ‘no’ vote in Ireland would jeopardise the entire process. In view of this I welcome the declaration of Irish neutrality at the summit in Seville. A clear and positive message has been sent from Europe to the Irish people.

I make no secret of the fact that we face considerable challenges, but no one should be in any doubt as to the resolve, commitment and will of the Danish Presidency.

A good starting point has been created. This is not least a result of exhaustive work by the candidate countries and the Commission over more than ten years; similarly, the Danish Presidency will be continuing the work based on the results achieved by earlier presidencies, including the great progress made by the Spanish Presidency.

Ten years of negotiations, ten years of hard work that has borne fruit, ten years of expectations that we cannot afford to disappoint. We must keep the promises that we have given each other. We must keep to the deadlines that we have set ourselves. We must seize the historic opportunity that we have been given.

Over forty years of communist rule in Central and Eastern Europe have resulted in an unfortunate and artificial division of Europe. It is this dark chapter in the history of Europe that we now have opportunity to end.

The time for speech-making has passed. We must make sure that our words are followed by deeds. It is now that we must deliver on our promises.


The banner of the Danish Presidency is ‘One Europe’: One Europe for all our peoples. One Europe as a framework for future cooperation that benefits everyone. One Europe of freedom, peace and prosperity.

The Danish Presidency will do its utmost to honour this and the other tasks with which we have been entrusted. We cannot do it alone; we need all our partners.

After the Second World War, great Europeans such as Schuman, Monnet and Spinelli created the vision of a Europe without war, a Europe united in cooperation. This dream has become a reality for us in Western Europe. Enlargement of the EU is an opportunity to extend the freedom, peace, stability and prosperity that we ourselves know to include the countries of the East as well. We must set about this task in the spirit that characterised the founders of European cooperation. We must not get bogged down in details; we must have the courage and the will to persist in the historic vision and task ahead of us.

I appeal to everyone to see the enlargement of the EU in this historic perspective. I call upon everyone to seize this historic opportunity to reunite a Europe that was previously divided.

I appeal for close cooperation with the European Parliament to implement this most important political task of our generation: to welcome the new democracies of Eastern and Central Europe to the European Union.

Thank you, Mr President.


  Prodi, President of the Commission. – (IT) Mr President, Prime Minister, ladies and gentlemen, this is the last plenary sitting before the summer recess. The Seville European Council is behind us and the extremely important six months of the Danish Presidency have just started. This would therefore appear to be a good point to take stock of the situation.

There are three major interlocking processes among the items on our agenda for the second half of this year. Firstly, as the Danish Prime Minister has said, enlargement. As I said yesterday in this House, most issues still outstanding have been settled and the Commission will say which countries it regards as ready for enlargement at the October European Council. At the same time, we also need to encourage progress among the other candidate countries. Our aim is to push ahead with the process systematically without erecting new barriers across the continent we are seeking to unify. As things stand and assuming current progress is maintained, all ten countries in the first wave are likely to be considered ready for accession. The criterion is still the same: no country is judged in general terms; each country is judged on its own merits.

We shall work resolutely to wind up the accession talks at Copenhagen, but first we must reach an internal agreement with the current Member States on budgetary issues and on direct payments to farmers, although these areas are not closely linked. In this regard, I want to reiterate my conviction that the Commission’s proposal is the only workable basis for reaching an agreement between the current fifteen Member States and the twenty-five of tomorrow. I therefore call on all parties to undertake to reach an agreement that will pave the way for the reunification of the whole continent.

Meanwhile, we will update the roadmap and pre-accession strategy for Bulgaria and Romania. As for Turkey, the Council encourages and fully supports its efforts – as stated in the Council conclusions – to fulfil the priorities defined in its Accession Partnership. The regular report on Turkey’s progress in adopting and implementing reforms to be published by the Commission in October will be a crucial factor in the decisions that will be taken at Copenhagen.

Thus, in December, the Copenhagen European Council will set a date in 2004 for the formal accession of the new Member States and will arrange for the signing of the Accession Treaty to take place in March 2003. Of course, the whole process depends on the ratification of the Treaty of Nice. The Irish will be voting on this in October. I must therefore stress the importance of a yes vote for Europe’s future. Signing the Accession Treaty will not be the end of a successful enlargement process. On the contrary, it will only be the beginning. From 2004, the EU must be capable of performing all its tasks properly and meeting the expectations of the European citizens, who will then number over 450 million.

The latest Eurobarometer results are clear: 67% of those interviewed are now in favour of the euro, which is a figure six points up on the previous survey. There is huge support for the Common Foreign and Security Policy and for enlargement and the majority of the citizens are in favour of a European Union Constitution.

Ladies and gentlemen, these results also tell us that our fellow citizens want maximum effectiveness in our institutions, and that is precisely the idea behind the second topic I want us to focus on today: institutional reforms. Once ratified, the Nice Treaty will introduce the institutional reforms needed for enlargement, but we also need to take fundamental decisions on the political nature and the institutional structure of the European Union of the future. Indeed, Europe must be more present in three major areas: we need a stronger foreign policy and a more effective role on the world stage, closer cooperation between the Member States in the field of security and justice and in combating organised crime and illegal immigration, and better coordination of economic and financial policy.

All these issues are currently being discussed in the debate on the future of Europe within the European Convention. Enlargement, however, is imminent and we cannot just twiddle our thumbs until a new Treaty is ratified. How should responsibilities be divided up amongst the Commissioners once the Union has 25 or more members, in other words as things stand in 2004, not as they are now? How will the Council be able to provide coherent, effective guidance?

The Danish Presidency has been instructed to push ahead with the procedural reforms of the Council decided upon at Seville and the Commission undertakes as of now to give its full support. The Commission has also been moving in this direction. As I said yesterday, I have already put forward similar ideas on reorganising the work of the Commissioners and I would like to stress now that the reforms we can carry out without amending the Treaties need to be synchronised across the institutions. Therefore, when there are 25 Member States, we will have to take appropriate action.

We must have one single objective: to put the right men and women in the right posts. We must think solely of the general interest of the system and optimising its performance. Our underlying aim is still sounder, more democratic governance of the Union.

The third and last topic I wish to raise today is Johannesburg and the World Summit on Sustainable Development. Sustainability is a recurrent theme in the Commission’s work. We often speak of sustainability and of long-term objectives for our policies in the environmental, economic and social sectors and I hope the Johannesburg Summit will be a substantial step forwards. Apart from anything else, I know that a number of you will be attending this Summit, and that is good for the Union has a guiding role to play in trade, humanitarian aid, development aid and diplomatic relations. Let us not, however, rest on our laurels or be content with the successes of the past. We must build on the momentum of Monterrey and Doha, where the Union played an essential role, and we must tackle the difficult task of convincing our partners to do their bit.

We must undertake to provide practical support for development in the southern hemisphere in line with the priorities laid down by UN Secretary-General, Kofi Annan, of water, hygiene, health, energy, agriculture and biodiversity. In addition, we must not neglect the social and political aspects: developing democracy, good governance, political dialogue and social and economic reform. All these measures will ultimately assist in achieving the major goals of alleviating poverty, securing peace and improving the standard of living of what is sadly the majority of the world’s population.

The income gap between the northern and southern hemispheres is widening, particularly where Africa is concerned. We must reverse the trend and avoid setting up new walls and creating new divides across the world. That means doing much more than we have up to now, fulfilling our commitments and adopting a more coordinated, complementary approach.

The last G8 Meeting in Canada adopted an Africa Action Plan supporting the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD). We must not confine ourselves to just taking part in the initiative: we must also make sure our contribution is worthy of our traditional role as Africa’s special partner and our historical responsibilities towards the continent.

Prime Minister, you mentioned food safety in your speech. The Danish Presidency can count on the active support of the Commission and the newly established Food Safety Authority in its endeavours to maintain the highest standards of food safety for the Union’s citizens.

In the three major areas I have spoken about today – enlargement, institutional reform and sustainable development – the EU must establish itself as a model of democratic efficiency. We must not forget that we are the only working example of democratic, supranational management of globalisation. Other people talk about it but we are trying to make it reality. That is why the world expects us to make a momentous contribution to the debate on sustainability, and it must come from all of us – you, ladies and gentlemen, the President-in-Office, Mr Rasmussen, and his entire Council Presidency team, and us in the Commission.

Prime Minister, I welcome this frank, incisive, active start to our cooperation and the friendly atmosphere too. Thank you. I would also like to thank the Members of this House and, this being the last part-session before the summer recess, wish you all a good holiday.



  Poettering (PPE-DE).(DE) Mr President, Mr President-in-Office, Mr President of the Commission, ladies and gentlemen, may I first of all congratulate Mr Rasmussen on his great speech. If you achieve all of this in the course of these six months then you will demonstrate once again that it is not just the large countries that can move Europe forward, but precisely a country like yours, that takes up its duties with great ambitions in mind. On behalf of all of us, I wish Denmark every success!


You talked about going from Copenhagen to Copenhagen and spoke in terms of a single Europe. In your speech I also discerned a certain visionary quality, because you are taking responsibility for the fact that we need to seize this opportunity now to reunite Europe. Copenhagen 1993 meant human dignity; it meant the Rule of Law; it meant democracy, the recognition of minorities and market regulation. Making this a reality ten years on by admitting our central European neighbours as Members is a task of truly historic proportions.

I fully agree with you that our aim has to be to admit ten countries: Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Slovenia and, of course, Cyprus and Malta. It has to be clear, however, that if a country does not meet the conditions, then those that have already fulfilled them must not be forced to wait just because the others have not yet done so. I was very glad to hear you say that there must be no new conditions, and I would ask you to resist any pressure, from whichever country, for our side to impose them.


Let me make it clear on behalf of my group that if the Chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany is now, for electioneering purposes, to link enlargement to the agricultural issue, then we will reject that in the strongest possible terms. I would encourage you to do likewise and firmly reject this approach.


On 10 July, we will hear Commissioner Fischler give us the results of the mid-term review of agricultural policy. Then we will debate them. You said yourself that there will be an opportunity to make decisions at a later stage. I might also recall – and thereby give you some encouragement, Mr President-in-Office – that this Parliament adopted Mr Böge's report on the financial impact of the enlargement of the European Union on the agricultural policy by a large majority, which means that you have the support of the vast majority of this House for your chosen approach.

I should like to make a few comments on Turkey. There is of course a reference to Turkey in the Seville Conclusions. We support all attempts to promote good relations between Turkey and the European Union. However, we think that the Danish Presidency is too early to set a date for the beginning of the negotiations. Turkey needs to undertake further reforms – and we should support it in its efforts to do so – but the time has not yet come to set a date for negotiations. I call on the Turkish Government to withdraw its objections to the armed forces of the European Union and NATO carrying out joint missions. As Europeans we have to be capable of taking action and Turkey must make an appropriate contribution to this.

The Danish Presidency spoke at length on openness and transparency. It is of course precisely the Nordic countries – Finland, Sweden, but also and in particular Denmark – who lead the way here. I should like to encourage you to implement what was decided in Seville under your presidency. If, for example, the Seville Conclusions state that proposals should be negotiated in public at the beginning and end of the legislative procedure in the Council of Ministers, then you should define the beginning and end of the negotiations as flexibly as possible, so that there is only a short period in the middle when meetings are perhaps not public. We need openness; we need transparency. Access also needs to be given to the television cameras, so that we reach the public at large.

In accordance with the Seville Conclusions, before the end of 2002 we will have an interinstitutional agreement on better lawmaking. We hope that we will also see results at the political level by the end of 2002. We should also like an agreement – similar to the one that we have on the Common Foreign, Security and Defence Policy – on the third pillar, that is Justice and Home Affairs, so that we create more transparency there too.

Mr President-in-Office, I should like to thank you for what you have said. In the hope that you will be able to make it a reality, I wish the Danish Presidency every success. The Group of the European People's Party and European Democrats stands at your side. Seeing Bertel Haarder, a respected former member of this House, sitting on your right, I am confident that you and your team will also be able to lead the Danish Presidency to a successful conclusion. All our good wishes for the Danish Presidency!



  Barón Crespo (PSE).(ES) Mr President, Mr President-in-Office of the Council, Mr President of the Commission, ladies and gentlemen. Mr President-in-Office of the Council, you know what my group thinks because you were kind enough to invite all the chairmen to Copenhagen and I believe you raised the issue at the end of your speech in the correct way, providing a historical view of the challenge we have before us. In this respect, I must say that I believe this is a good political approach. I hope that the Danish Presidency will act with neutrality, as was the case last time Denmark held the Presidency.

We must not lose hope that, respecting the decisions of the Danish people, you will also be fully committed to European integration. That would be good for everybody.

With regard to the challenges we have before us, the essential challenge is enlargement. I would repeat that we should approach it as the historic challenge for Europeans to achieve one Europe. Parliament is doing everything it can to ensure enlargement takes place within the agreed timescales. I was surprised by the statements by your Foreign Minister threatening to take a stick to the candidate countries if they do not behave properly. I do not know whether the transcription in the press is correct. But in any event, I would accept that you have a Herculean task, because – Parliament has said this about previous enlargements – we cannot make a leap of this type without reconsidering things. We cannot go from fifteen countries to twenty-five by negotiating for a fortnight and without dealing with budgetary issues at all. That is why you are having problems with the Council. You are also going to need a stick to impose order within the Council.

I must say, since Mr Poettering is so determined to systematically bring the German election campaign into our debates, that we can argue about agriculture, but please tell Mr Stoiber not to bring up the Beneš Decrees all the time, since these bombshells are much more dangerous in Europe.


Therefore, Prime Minister, since the tales of your fellow countryman Andersen are so beautiful, do not let this tale end in a nightmare. I wish you lots of luck, but you have a very difficult job. And this relates to food safety, because what we have now is a hyper-capitalist agricultural policy that is constantly seeking to achieve higher productivity. We have had the political courage to debate it. We want an agricultural policy which is aimed at sustainable development, but we cannot say that that will be discussed later and we are going to wait four years. That is the challenge facing you.

With regard to fisheries, we also have to create a sustainable development policy, but applying human principles and respecting the social fabric and cohesion, which I am sure we all agree on. I must point out that you are a fishing power, since you fish more than anyone else in the Community.

With regard to security, justice and freedom, all I will say is that we support the fight against terrorism and organised crime. We are very concerned because your government is pursuing a policy on asylum which has been criticised by the United Nations High Commission for Refugees. Furthermore, you have not included Tampere in your programme; you only refer to Seville. In the work implementing Tampere we have five outstanding directives on the table…


…and in Seville you have had to give the Interior Ministers homework with deadlines.

Mr President, a brief reference to global responsibility. You are right to raise global security. It concerns me very much as well and I would like you to disown the statements of your Foreign Minister in which he states that the approach of the Quartet and the International Conference on the Middle East makes no sense. This has been approved by Parliament, it is a European Union position and it appears in the Seville conclusions. We believe that unilateral action by the United States is not the way to resolve this conflict.

Finally – and I will end here, Mr President – aware that the Convention we are preparing is a challenge for next year, I would like to know what you think: are you in favour of the Community method or the cabinet-based method?

Thank you very much and good luck.



  Watson (ELDR). – President-in-Office, you take on the presidency of the European Council at a time when the Union faces its greatest-ever challenge: the largest expansion of our Community in the history of European integration. If you succeed – as we are confident you will – your presidency will tear down the last vestiges of the Iron Curtain. As you rightly point out in your programme, Europe will have come full circle, from the Copenhagen Summit of 1993, which set the accession criteria, to the Copenhagen Summit which reunites Europe in 2002.

Why are Liberals in this House confident that you will succeed? Not only because you have prepared so thoroughly for this task but also because you assume the presidency of the Council at a time when Liberals also occupy the presidencies of the European Commission and the European Parliament. With governments of left and right bowing to narrow national interests and placing in jeopardy this historic reunification, history appeals to the generosity of the liberal spirit. We appeal to Blair and Schröder on the left and to Aznar, Berlusconi and Chirac on the right to pause for a moment and ponder: what picture will Europe project to the world if you squabble like Roman soldiers under the cross over a fraction of 1% of GDP?


It is not easy to be a Liberal when greed and prejudice fill the air, but rest assured, President-in-Office, that Liberal Democrats in this House will maintain our unfailing support for enlargement under the criteria laid down in Copenhagen. I regret that the Spanish presidency was not able to lighten your workload by making greater progress on agriculture and fisheries, which have been spoken of today. While we strongly support reform of the CAP and the CFP, this must not be a precondition for enlargement. Let nobody assume that in our eagerness to secure the prize of enlargement, we will allow reform to fall by the wayside. But neither will we be held to ransom by the practice which allows the European Union's agenda to be dictated by the timetable of national elections.

The other hurdle that you must surmount is the paucity of public preparedness. A Eurobarometer poll shows that only one citizen in five feels well informed about EU enlargement. Ireland must approve the Nice Treaty, and beyond Copenhagen, national parliaments and this House must ratify the accession treaties. If popular fears about candidate countries and the costs of enlargement are not addressed, the process could yet be derailed. However, this challenge will be in large measure addressed if Denmark's proud tradition of openness and accountability is put to good use in opening up the Council beyond the timid measures agreed in Seville, and if you give your excellent European Affairs Minister free rein to take on the Eurosceptics.

In justice and home affairs the ELDR Group welcomes your detailed programme to protect our people from terrorism. We hope that as good Liberals you will demonstrate the same zeal in taking forward measures to protect citizens' freedoms, as you show in tackling terrorist threats. In the area of immigration and asylum, I appeal to you to use the tried and tested Community method to make progress and to overcome the short-sighted opposition of others to a European border guard corps.

In answer to the remarks of my friend, Mr Baron Crespo, I would far rather be an asylum-seeker trying to get into Denmark – where I would have a greater chance of success – than one of the huddled masses trying to get into Mr Blair's bleak Britain.


On sustainable development, your commitment to concentrate on measures to put people back to work and ensure a sound economy rather than add to the proliferation of targets is music to Liberal Democrat ears. We also applaud your aim to match further progress on energy liberalisation with common ground rules on energy taxation, and you can count on our support to broker the necessary deals on the many financial services measures needed by the end of this year if we are to complete the financial services action plan on time by 2004.

President-in-Office, with such a magnitude of tasks you shoulder a great burden. Re-uniting Europe is rightly your number one concern. We wish you well and we offer you our support, for it is on our generation this responsibility falls; it is to us this challenge is made and it is with us that hope resides.



  Frahm (GUE/NGL).(DA) Mr President, I would like to welcome my fellow-countryman and the Danish Presidency. Naturally I wish the Danish Presidency good luck with a great many of the points in the programme, especially of course with enlargement. Whilst we are well aware that we should have got the work on the economic aspects of enlargement finished back in Amsterdam and got the great battle over agricultural policy and structural funds out of the way, it is now too late to make these matters obstacles to enlargement’s taking place. I will simply ask the Danish Government to stand by its policy to date: that we must utterly and completely phase out the agricultural subsidies in favour of a fairer world, take national considerations out of the equation and instead place sustainability and the relationship with farmers in the Third World on the agenda. I would like to give my support to the maintenance of this policy.

However, there are other things that I do not wish the Danish Presidency luck with: I do not wish the Danish Government luck with obtaining influence over a common European refugee and asylum policy. I come from a country in which racism and such matters are viewed differently. In Denmark, you can be prosecuted for calling the Government’s closest cooperation partner and parliamentary lynchpin, Pia Kjærsgård of the Danish People’s Party, what she is called in every other European country and what European Voice most recently called her: an undisguised racist. You can be prosecuted for saying that in Denmark. We apply a slightly different definition of racism and such matters than is used in the UN and in the EU and, in reality, by most Danish citizens when talking among friends. Denmark is also a country in which people have a very special way of looking at aid to developing countries. We have cut it back, but the Danish Government thinks things are going unbelievably well so long as we are not at the bottom and not in the middle relative to other countries. It is also a country which attaches a great deal of importance to transatlantic links. This is also a matter included in the Presidency’s programme, where it talks about common interests. Is it an expression of common interests to cooperate with a country that refuses to recognise the International Criminal Court and to cooperate closely with a country that refuses to sign the Kyoto Protocol? Is it an expression of common interests, or is it simply that, in this joint fight against terrorism, we have to close our eyes to a great many things: to the Russian war in Chechnya, to how the Turks treat the Kurds, to how Israel is treating the Palestinian people – all because we are in an alliance against terror, a transatlantic alliance?

Many Members of the European Parliament can remember when the Danish minister, Mr Haarder was an MEP and the spokesman for human rights. It is plain that, in exchanging MEP Bertel Haarder for Mr Haarder the Minister, we did not get a particularly good deal. We would rather have had you as an MEP, Mr Haarder, to be frank, and I would call upon the government to re-read the speech that Mr Haarder gave when he was the spokesman for human rights in Parliament. You should re-read it as inspiration for your future decisions.


  Maes (Verts/ALE).(NL) I come from another small country and as a result, will strike a slightly different note, but you will understand that for us, the Danish Presidency will at any rate have a smooth start as far as a number of aspects are concerned. You are to us a model of democracy, transparency and of international solidarity – so far, at least – and I hope that this will continue to be the case.

To small countries, Europe is always a bit bigger than it is to larger countries, because the latter first need to look after their own country, which is so big, before they can consider the interests of others. This is why there is ever greater hope in this Parliament that small countries can help Europe progress more effectively than the large ones, and Denmark’s decisiveness, which comes across in your speech, is no exception.

As far as your priority for enlargement is concerned, you rightly refer to the major Copenhagen rights which served as criteria for the candidate countries. In terms of human rights, in terms of democracy, in terms of minorities, these Copenhagen criteria have provided guidance, and not only hope, but really acted as a big stick, thus ensuring that reforms will be able to take place in those countries not merely on an economic basis but in accordance with our common system of values.

However, many of those candidate countries which we hope, as you do, can join as soon as they are ready, are actually small countries. Some of them have no more inhabitants than do some historical regions, including Scotland, Wales, the Basque Country, Flanders, Wallonia, Catalonia, and they are actually being somewhat overlooked. You are only considering Member States, but we ask ourselves how you see the future of the constitutional regions? Should they all become Member States before they are taken seriously? Or will you also take the regions into consideration, not only the constitutional ones but also those in the accession countries which you will need if you are serious about solving the problem of the Structural Funds?

Is it, in this light, such a good idea to make such a distinction between reforms and great visions? As I understand it, the Commission President, Mr Prodi, has, in fact, asked you a question without actually articulating it: could you, when you consider enlargement, wait to think about the future of our institutions without having these institutions immediately in the back of your mind and having an opinion of the way in which they should be reformed?

A second critical question has already been raised, both by Mr Crespo and by Mrs Frahm. It is related to immigration, the fight against illegal immigration, the fight against crime, and asylum seekers.

It is, of course, not your fault alone that the Council, that the Councils, have saddled us with a policy that is a non-policy. This is not a balanced policy; the Commission had proposals that were far more balanced.

I also wanted to ask you how you intend to bring Cyprus on board if you do not give the Turkish minority any security guarantees, how you intend to solve the Kaliningrad issue, and so on. In other words, we are very interested in the questions which others will be asking, but mainly in the answers which you will be giving today, and especially your actions in the future. In any event, I wish you, on behalf of our group, every success.


  Camre (UEN).(DA) Mr President, I will start by thanking the President-in-Office of the Council, Prime Minister Fogh Rasmussen, for a very clear and open speech. The Danish Presidency will naturally be led with all the professionalism that Denmark can muster; but that is not the same as saying that the Danish Government’s very ambitious programme for rapid enlargement to the east will succeed, since this depends after all not just on how good the presidency is. There are very great and understandable conflicts of interest between the populations of the EU’s 15 Member States and only someone entirely insensitive to the interests of the ordinary EU citizen would think that consideration of this factor must be set aside in order to rush through enlargement to the east. In particular, it would be incredibly worrying if agricultural reform were to be postponed on the grounds that it was likely to become politically impossible after enlargement. Enlargement towards the east is an enormous task both economically and in organisational terms. It involves the EU’s having to send several hundreds of billions of kroner eastwards each year. The immigration into the EU of very cheap labour combined with the relocation to the East of our labour-intensive enterprises will bring about drastic social changes in the EU. Despite the desire of European big business for masses of cheap labour and new markets, it is unwise of the EU to ignore the social problems that will be caused for Europeans.

The great problems that we face may very well overturn the Danish Government’s ambitious plan. It is in the light of this that I wish to criticise the ‘now or never’ mentality. The world will not end if a decision on enlargement cannot be made in 2002 – it is only the President of the Commission, Mr Prodi, who is going round as if he believes that. That is why I am pleased to hear the President-in-Office reject this idea. There is a need for cooperation between European countries – first and foremost cooperation on free trade – but it is a distortion to talk about reuniting Europe. The truth is that the countries of Europe have never cooperated more closely than they do today. The project will not fall through just because a certain deadline is not achieved – on the contrary, it may be improved by not suppressing the problems and postponing dealing with them. That is why the presidency should have a Plan B that can be implemented if Plan A is unsuccessful. I will end by expressing the desire for the Danish Presidency, as is its custom, to contribute to the EU’s development by listening more to the European voters than we are used to doing.


  Bonde (EDD).(DA) Mr President, I would like to welcome the Danish Presidency to six months’ cooperation. Their efforts may prove to be historic for two reasons: it may be the last time that the Member States rotate the presidency – that does not have to happen – and enlargement may succeed, or else fail due to too many petty interests.

The June Movement is voting for enlargement, but we make no secret of our criticism of the EU’s methods of negotiation. The candidate countries have to copy every single EU law without the least consideration of their own democracies. In the Sudetenland agricultural land costs 10% of the price in neighbouring Germany. If we now force the Czechs to sell to the highest bidder after a brief transitional period, it is not difficult to predict the result and the reactions among Czech voters. Could we not let the transitional arrangements be more flexible and, for example, not allow the sale of summer homes and agricultural land in the EU until the average income in the Czech Republic approaches ours? The EU’s agricultural schemes are expensive for consumers and taxpayers in the EU and do not secure farmers a proper income. The subsidy from EU funds to Danish agriculture alone will this year probably be three times the size of the total net income from agriculture. That is why French, Danish, Polish and all other farmers have a common interest in getting agricultural policy reformed, so that it supports farmers’ earnings rather than subsidising unsaleable products, surplus stocks, destruction, the ruin of agricultural production in developing countries, environmental ruin and high prices for consumers for our daily food.

The Danish President-in-Office is a liberal and is closely associated with Danish agriculture. This provides an historic opportunity to get rid of the EU’s failed planned economy. Why not remove all price subsidies at 20% per year, give farmers bonds for the fall in the price of land and subsidise the incomes of those worst off? If we phase out price subsidies in the EU there will be no reason to allow the new Member States to join the subsidy schemes. Give them the money to spend freely instead, so that they are not enticed into investing in the wrong things. The Danish Presidency should also go through the 85 000 pages of EU laws with a fine-toothed comb. Send the majority back to the Member States, so that the EU only legislates on cross-border matters for which we cannot legislate meaningfully ourselves. Let the EU become a Europe of democracies instead of a community of bureaucracies and lobbyists.


  Dupuis (NI).(FR) Mr President, I too should like to welcome the representatives of the Danish presidency, Mr Rasmussen, the President-in-Office, and our former colleague Bertel Haarder, and to take this opportunity to thank them for the name they have given to the programme of the Danish Presidency – ‘One Europe’.

Having said that, I hope that the Danish Presidency will remember that there is a small region in Europe which has been subjected to genocide day after day for several years, namely Chechnya. It is indeed a matter of urgency that the European Union should make arrangements, under the guidance of the Danish Presidency, for a troika visit to Chechnya with a view to observing the destruction and the criminal policy that Russia has been inflicting on that country in recent years. I hope that the Danish Presidency will be able to mobilise the Council to follow this line in time for the autumn meeting of the EU-Russia Council.

Denmark is also synonymous with enlargement, as Mr Rasmussen reminded us several times. For my own part, I believe the Union should engage in some reflection and propose a new enlargement. Europe is not yet ‘one’. There remains the question of Israel, which is essentially the issue of peace, freedom and democracy in that region of the world. I shall therefore ask the Danish Presidency what it thinks of the proposal that has now been endorsed by 50 Members of the European Parliament concerning the inclusion of Israel in the list of candidates for accession and also, from another destabilised part of the world, namely the Caucasus region, the inclusion of Georgia, which is one of the gateways to Central Asia. Would the Danish Presidency be prepared to work on the idea of including Georgia in the list of candidate countries?


  Rovsing (PPE-DE).(DA) Mr President, President-in-Office, President of the Commission, it is always a pleasure to hear Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen speak and to listen to his visionary observations concerning enlargement to the east. It is an incredibly demanding task that the President-in-Office has taken upon his shoulders. Everyone must contribute to the success of the expansion, and that applies particularly to Germany and France, which have formed the core of EU development, strongly supported by Spain. Enlargement can scarcely succeed without a strong commitment from, and involvement by, these countries. It is likely to end up costing more money than we think at the moment. Even if this should be the case, it is no reason to be daunted: we will probably all end up paying a little bit more to support the building up of the infrastructure, administration, etc. that the new candidate countries so badly need. It would be a poor show if the EU were unable to share a little of its ever increasing wealth with these countries. It would be prudent for the President-in-Office and his colleagues to send out a clear message that the extra contribution must not stand in the way of enlargement, which must succeed.

The purpose of enlargement is to create an area of peace, freedom, democracy and wealth. There is every possibility that this can succeed. The enlargement will increase our opportunities for greater efforts against international terrorism and more effective combating of international crime, including human trafficking. It is crucial that we support sustainable development with more people in work and a better economy. The way to do this is to create a more competitive society such that bureaucratic difficulties and inappropriate agreement conditions are phased out, so that we can achieve the same annual increase in prosperity as American society has succeeded in achieving. Had we been as good as the USA at increasing our productivity, we would have had much greater economic funds with which to do good. It is therefore crucial that in our development we invest in competitiveness. In ten to fifteen years’ time China and India will head a number of Asian countries that will have a dynamism that will in many ways make enormous demands upon our ability to change and grow. Let us prepare ourselves while we have the opportunity to do so; let us not get bogged down in unimportant details – let us concentrate on the big, forward-looking policies.

In global competition the ability to produce safe food will play a huge role. We should secure ourselves a leading place within this area through research, development and industrial innovation, as well as more value creation. It is important that we acknowledge our global responsibility and together with the Americans try to find a solution to the problems in the Middle East. The EU represents the group of countries that has the greatest understanding of the circumstances. We can make a great contribution, but without support from the USA, Russia and the Arab countries our efforts will be in vain. Finally, I am pleased to hear the President-in-Office state that there will be the greatest possible openness in respect of the Council’s legislation. I take the liberty of interpreting this as meaning that TV stations will be allowed to broadcast the relevant sections of Council meetings.


  Lund (PSE).(DA) Mr President, first of all I would like to thank President-in-Office, Mr Fogh Rasmussen for the programme that he has presented. It will be a presidency which will differ fundamentally from previous Danish presidencies. Cooperation has been expanded in a great many areas and, on top of this, there is the main task that everyone has emphasised, that of successfully negotiating enlargement with no less than ten candidate countries. We all have a great political and moral responsibility, and it is of course a prerequisite for success that all parties have the necessary desire to compromise. The candidate countries have undergone a fundamental restructuring. They have made great sacrifices, but they are now essentially ready. The ball is now largely in the EU’s own court and I think that the Commission has provided a particularly reasonable scheme for funding enlargement in the initial years, and one which clearly separates enlargement from future agricultural reform. This, I feel, is very sensible. It will now be up to the fifteen heads of government to come up with the goods. We will now see whether the EU currently has Heads of State with the necessary quality and strength and with visions that extend beyond short-sighted national considerations. Narrow-mindedness and neo-nationalism must not place obstacles in the way of enlargement.

The second great challenge is the World Summit in Johannesburg and, here, the EU must go on the offensive and courageously show its solidarity with the developing countries by spearheading the creation of the global agreement, which the President-in-Office also mentioned, with practical political obligations and with a precise timetable. There will be a great need to put pressure on the USA, which apparently believes that hunger, poverty and terror can be solved by military means and by reserving financial support for those regimes which passively go along with the American script. I hope that the Danish Presidency will go on the offensive and choose the path of real solidarity with the Third World. There is also a link here with the EU’s asylum and immigration policy, which after all is not just about illegal immigration, as one might sometimes believe. The strident negative debate on foreigners in certain countries should be replaced by a common European policy based on humanitarianism, in which foreigners are not discriminated against socially, in which conventions are respected and in which it is not only members of a well-educated elite who have access to Europe as refugees or for the purpose of family reunification. We must not build a ‘Fortress Europe’ that is based on lowest common denominators but, rather, we should create a link between the much-praised globalisation and our legislation as regards foreigners. With such a policy – and only with such a policy –positive cooperation from the European Parliament can be anticipated. In saying this, I should like to express the hope and confidence that the Danish Presidency will solve the tasks ahead of it, ideally in close cooperation with Parliament.


  Maij-Weggen (PPE-DE).(NL) Mr President, I would first of all like to congratulate Mr Rasmussen and Mr Haarder on the excellent programme they have presented. It sounds very good. I think that you will receive a great deal of support from Parliament. I have two questions which I hope will be answered.

The first question concerns openness in the Council. I have always been committed to this openness, and you know that I have been one of the key players bringing about the recent regulation concerning access to documents, as a result of which we have at least obtained public access. However, I am somewhat dissatisfied with this openness in the Council as it is currently being organised. As I understand it, the Council is public at the beginning and at the end of the meetings and it confines itself to codecision legislation. My question is: how exactly will this be implemented? Is it not possible to throw open the entire session, from beginning to end, in the case of codecision, and why should it be confined to the codecision procedure? Why should debates on legislation which falls within the remit of the national Member States not take place in public too?

My second question concerns accession. There are four countries that are creating great difficulty when it comes to accession because they want the structural funds and the agricultural policy to be reformed first. There is such a movement in the Netherlands, among others. I would ask Mr Rasmussen whether he would be prepared to have a heart-to-heart with our Liberal friends in the Netherlands – because they are the main people involved – and ask their leader, Mr Zalm, whether he would take his foot off the accelerator, so that the Netherlands can soon be a loyal participant in this enlargement. I would indeed be embarrassed if the Netherlands were to be one of the countries putting a spanner in the works.


  Hume (PSE). – Mr President, I very much welcome the Danish presidency and I very much welcome the fact that in its programme it states that the European Union has a special responsibility for peace and stability in a world which is ever more closely linked.

We are living today through the biggest revolution in the history of the world, with technological telecommunications and transport revolution, as a result of which the world is a much smaller place. In that case, therefore, we should be in a much stronger position to shape that world, but in particular to ensure, as we are in the new century and the new millennium, that we will make it the first century in which we will no longer have conflict or war in our world and that the European Union will use its influence to bring that about. Given that the European Union is the best example in the history of the world of conflict resolution, that strengthens our position to bring it about.

The first half of the last century was the worst in the history of the world with two world wars. Yet those same peoples, the peoples represented in this House, all came together and ended their conflict forever and created the European Union. The principles at the heart of European Union should be sent to areas of conflict anywhere in the world. I know from my own experience that the three principles at the heart of European Union are the same three principles at the heart of the agreement in Northern Ireland. Number one: respect for difference – that is what all conflict is about. Difference should be respected. Number two: institutions which respect difference; and Number three: working together in the common interest and by so doing breaking down the barriers of the past.

I welcome the fact that Commissioner Patten and his department are working in this area. But in today's world I would like to see the European Union set up a full department concerned with peace and conflict resolution in the European Commission, with its own Commissioner. Then we can play our role in the smaller world of today to end the terrible conflicts that take place in different parts of the world and to bring a message of peace and lasting stability to those areas.


  Riis-Jørgensen (ELDR).(DA) Mr President, President-in-Office and Prime Minister. So the day has finally arrived which we all, but particularly you, have been looking forward to and preparing for since you became Denmark’s Prime Minister. I am proud both of Denmark and of you. As a liberal, it is with particular pleasure that I stand here today. Now we have a liberal president of the Council, of the European Parliament and of the Commission. That is a good starting point for getting the working programme of the presidency implemented.

Enlargement overshadows all else. We liberals have been fighting for enlargement since the fall of the Berlin Wall. It will secure the new democracies of Central and Eastern Europe their rightful place in the future Europe. Getting enlargement completed on schedule will require not just political skill, but also plenty of hard work. I know from personal experience that the President—in-Office can deliver both, and thus close the circle from Copenhagen to Copenhagen. As a Danish liberal I hope that successful enlargement can lead to Denmark again becoming a full member of the EU. It may seem strange to work towards giving new countries access to full European cooperation when you yourself come from a country that has remained outside the sphere of influence in certain areas. But Denmark’s own foot-dragging in the EU will in no circumstances hamper enlargement. Enlargement will give Europe’s new citizens rights. It is our duty – but a duty that we are happy to comply with – to give these new EU citizens the same rights as we ourselves have. An EU citizen can go out and get work anywhere. Our new citizens must have this right from day one.

I would like to wish the presidency every success in its work on implementing one Europe. I am convinced that it will succeed. We in the Liberal group will do everything to help it to do so.


  Gahrton (Verts/ALE). (SV) Mr President, as I hail from Skåne in Southern Sweden, I believe I have no need to waste polite phrases on the Danish Prime Minister, but can speak directly. Why did you choose to implement a xenophobic party’s policy on aliens on the same day as you took over the presidency of the EU? What message are you trying to send with this symbolism? How do you think this is perceived by the rest of the world?

Now, Mr Fogh Rasmussen, you are saying great things about enlargement, but how can people take seriously the fact that you wish to open borders for foreigners in the candidate countries when you wish to close the borders to Russians, Africans, Asians and Latin Americans?

In the newspaper Berlingske Tidende, Bertel Haarder says that the Aliens Act of the Danish Right is a victory for immigrant girls. Now, a foreigner in Denmark must be 24 to bring in his wife from her home country. If a Swede or a Greek living in Denmark wants to bring his 18-year old fiancée from home, there will most likely be no problem. If, however, a Muslim from the Turkish part of Cyprus wants to do so, what will happen then? The country is not yet an EU Member State, but if it becomes one, how will you handle that dilemma?

No, is the desire of the Danish Right for enlargement – to use the language of Hans Christian Andersen – not rather a case of “The Emperor’s New Clothes”? You cannot want to drive away so-called aliens and, at the same time, seek to expand freedom of movement in the EU to cover all European countries, some of which are Muslim.

In this way, you are constructing a sort of Fortress Europe, a super-imperialistic state, which the Danish people have rejected. However, it is clear that Danish governments usually ignore the Danish people. You are European champions at manipulating referendum results. Is it not going a little too far to try to manipulate the Irish referendum results out of existence?


  Stenzel (PPE-DE). – Mr President, I would like to congratulate the Danish presidency and Mr Bertel Haarder for their presence and for the very ambitious programme to keep to the deadlines for enlargement.

My first question is two-fold. Do you really believe that you can keep to the deadlines, given the big differences on agricultural policy? Will there be enough time between November and December to conclude these negotiations within the Europe of the 15?

My second question concerns the so-called presidential decrees and the Beneš decrees. There are tensions between Germany and the Czech Republic, and also between Austria and the Czech Republic, concerning the recent and very bitter past. The past should not stand in the way of the present. For this reason I would like to ask you whether you would use your political influence, Prime Minister, to ease these tensions and to use your influence on the Czech government to respond to the European Parliament's report on the Czech Republic, which asks the Czech side to repeal the relevant decrees by the latest at the time of accession.


  Schulz (PSE).(DE) Mr President, my first comment concerns something that Mrs Riis-Jørgensen said. I am surprised to hear that Mr Prodi is now a Liberal. When I first met him he was an Ulivo representative. Recently I read that he sits with the Christian Democrat Group at their conference. Now he is a Liberal. The President we have with us in this House today is what we might call a tricoloured President. But perhaps he will have a little more to say to us about this.

Now, however, I have something to say to Mr Poettering. Mr Poettering is, as we know, always very keen on dictating messages for others – yesterday it was Mr Aznar; today it is Mr Rasmussen – to pass on to the German Chancellor. What is really going on here? In fact what this is really about is the fact that the German Government, in the person of the Chancellor, asked – and was right to do so in my opinion – whether direct payments might not in their current form constitute an obstacle to enlargement if we did not reform the agricultural sector. Incidentally there is a consensus that they will. In July Mr Fischler is going to table proposals to restructure direct payments as part of the shift of emphasis towards supporting rural areas as a whole. I am rather curious to see whether Mr Poettering will then leap to his feet again here and say: that is an obstacle to enlargement! He will not do so, I can tell you that now, because at that point it will not be relevant to the German election. Whenever Mr Poettering makes a speech and expresses himself in these extravagant terms, his sole objective is to stir up public opinion about the German election. Of course this is allowed. There is nothing wrong with it, elections are an important part of politics, but it would be better, Mr Poettering, if, when this House was discussing Austria, and when we were discussing Italy, you had not jumped up like Savonarola and said that we were meddling in the internal affairs of Member States, only, when your own country was being discussed, to start working the crowds as if you were addressing a campaign rally in Osnabrück.



  President. – After that intervention Mr Poettering might need to catch my eye.


  Krarup (GUE/NGL).(DA) Mr President, I will not join in the German polemic, but wish the Danish Presidency good luck. A polished, presentable presentation has been given, without so much as a single independent thought. Danes are, after all, a humble people. We are and remain the tail of the German bulldog, but the Prime Minister’s rhetoric makes it look as if it is the tail that is wagging the dog. And behind this fine picture – this fine rhetoric – is a reality that encompasses a great many contradictions. My esteemed fellow MEP, Per Gahrton, expressed one of them. A very remarkable contradiction which lies in the fact that the Danish Government, which now holds the presidency of the EU, is propped up by a party that represents a pronounced degree of hostility to outsiders that borders on racism. Together with this supporting party – the Danish People’s Party, which is also represented here in this House – it has presented a programme on foreigners the contradictions of which were very clearly documented by Mr Gahrton, and I would like to repeat Mr Gahrton’s question.

The second point in the rhetoric is the European mastery of the manipulation of referendums – the clear message to the Irish population. I do not know what this clear message is. The situation that Ireland is in has not changed, and the Danish Presidency has demonstrated its ability to manipulate referendums previously.

The final and crucial point is the mantra: an area of freedom, security and justice – AFSJ. Without blinking the Prime Minister, the Danish President-in-Office, talks about a strengthened fight against terrorism. Now, nearly one year after September 11, we are seeing panic legislation which firstly leaves much to be desired in respect of the elemental Rule of Law, and secondly sets out EU measures that have no basis in the treaty. I am thinking in particular of the European arrest warrant. The Rule of Law and democracy are on the way out.


  Berthu (NI).(FR) Mr President-in-Office, for the term of your presidency, you have decided to prioritise enlargement. I congratulate you on that, and we shall support you wholeheartedly.

On the subject of that priority, let me ask you three questions. I am not necessarily pressing you for an immediate answer to the first question, because it is a tricky one, concerning the agricultural budget. As you know, if we sought uniform transposition of the rules of the common agricultural policy, the agricultural budget would probably be considerably increased, which nobody wants. As for reforming the CAP, we do not have the time to do that and, in any case, as you said, enlargement must not be delayed. Renationalising direct aid is appealing in some respects, but it is not an entirely satisfactory solution, because the poorest countries are precisely the ones that could least afford to assist their farmers. So is there not another avenue to explore, involving the use of a new form of Community preference that would serve both to maintain farmers’ incomes and to set very high quality standards? We recently noted an American plan which is fairly contentious but which could present us with an opportunity to call for a revision of the WTO rules, so that each country or area can plead the case for its own agricultural model? What do you think of this sort of idea with a target date of 2006?

Secondly, with regard to illegal immigration, the previous presidency made the fight against illegal immigration one of its priorities. Your priority is enlargement. At the point where these two priorities meet, there is the problem of Turkey, a country which regards itself as a candidate for accession but at the same time is one of the nerve centres of illegal immigration into Europe. What do you intend to do about this situation?

And thirdly, in your address you stated that another ‘no’ vote in Ireland would jeopardise the enlargement process. Are you absolutely sure of that, Mr President-in-Office? Would it not be possible to incorporate the relevant parts of the Treaty of Nice into the accession treaty and improve them in the process? From this perspective, would not an Irish ‘no’ actually represent something of an opportunity for Europe?


  Berès (PSE).(FR) Mr President-in-Office, the Spanish Presidency made the fight against terrorism its top priority. You, for your part, have chosen to prioritise enlargement. A good political decision – well done! We must beware, however, of thinking that, in this half-yearly game of musical chairs, our citizens will allow themselves to be duped. We must not ride roughshod over what most of them regard as a fundamental achievement of the European Union, by which I mean, of course, the transition to the euro. In this respect we still have a great deal to do. First and foremost, we need genuine coordination of economic policies so that the euro can foster growth and create jobs.

Your country, Mr President-in-Office, has opted out. Our clear wish for the Danish people is that this situation will change. But tell us how it is possible, in these conditions, to provide leadership on a matter in which progress depends on political will and determination. What conclusions do you draw from this for the functioning of our institutions, and how do you intend to organise your presidency in this domain?


  Laschet (PPE-DE).(DE) Mr President, Mr President-in-Office, when you were talking about your objectives for the Presidency you also mentioned the conflict in the Middle East. The Committee on Foreign Affairs, Human Rights, Common Security and Defence Policy has already discussed this with you in Copenhagen. My question concerns the recent American initiative.

The American President is using a mechanism that the European Union applies successfully throughout the world. He names specific objectives, for example a three-year timetable. He defines criteria against which reforms will be measured and promises to support these reforms if the criteria are complied with. That is essentially the model that we used in the enlargement process, which started in Copenhagen with the Copenhagen criteria. That is our model for our relations with the TACIS countries and, Commissioner Nielson, it has recently also become our model for ACP relations, where we have established specific principles which may also trigger sanctions.

My question for the Danish Presidency is therefore as follows: the Commission operates differently in the Middle East. There we do not establish any principles; so far we have always given aid – and on a flat-rate basis – unconditionally and without encouraging reform. Do you think it is possible that a new European initiative might be developed under the Danish Presidency together with the United States, based on the tangible prospect mentioned by President Bush of there being a Palestinian state in three years, and that your Presidency might support an initiative of this kind?


  Schmidt, Olle (ELDR). (introduction without microphone) (SV) ... we can see Liberals sitting in the Council seats, a Prime Minister who is genuinely Liberal, and at his side he has Mr Haarder. I would like to start by saying that you are a brave man, Prime Minister. Is it really possible to enlarge Europe without Poland? I know that everyone thinks so and says so, but I find it extremely difficult to envisage that happening in the end. I would like to hear your comments on the political and strategic realities in this case.

Let me also say a few words about the asylum and refugee policy. I know that this is a sensitive area, and I know that you view all Swedes as big brother types. I hope that is not currently the case, Prime Minister, but that you see me as a Liberal and as a friend, a trusted friend who is also able to tell you a few truths. Sometimes we are wrong, and other times we are right. I must say that I am concerned about developments. I am concerned that Europe is about to become a fortress which does not welcome people. We know that we need so many millions of people. We need perhaps four million each year until 2050 to keep Europe working and to be able to maintain the prosperity of Europe.

When Europe is enlarged, I believe it is vital to uphold our values, those values which we Europeans want others to share. I also believe that it is important for us to meet these demands ourselves. I must say, Prime Minister, that I hope that the refugee policy which you have changed in Denmark is not a sign of things to come in the rest of Europe. I believe, in fact, that we need more tolerance and more openness, quite simply more liberalism. Liberalism is what the people of Europe long for. We can never fight negative forces with negative measures.

Prime Minister, finally I would like to say that I have great faith in your work. You are completing the work of Mr Uffe Elleman-Jensen. I would like to say good luck, but I also hope that you will change your mind with regard to the asylum and refugee policy.


  Hautala (Verts/ALE). – (FI) Mr President, my fellow Members have said some very important things about foreign policy and that the European Union must not become ‘Fortress Europe’. I would like in my own speech to stress that we must also practise good neighbourly cooperation in our neighbouring regions.

The Danish Presidency in fact offers a new opportunity for this in the Nordic area. The Danish Presidency’s programme makes mention of strengthening the so-called Northern Dimension. This is welcome news as far as I am concerned, and I would like to propose that the Commission and Denmark, during its presidential term, should together also begin to draft the next Northern Dimension Action Plan, as the current one becomes void at the end of 2003.

I would really like to know what the Commission’s position is on this Northern Dimension question. Does the Commission take the matter as seriously as Denmark, as the country holding the presidency? This is about cooperation between the whole of the European Union and its northern neighbouring regions and not just cooperation between the northernmost Member States and such counties as Russia, Iceland, Norway and Greenland. This is actually a programme within whose framework we must be able to resolve our common problems. These relate to the huge challenges we face. For example, the gap that exists between the standard of living in Russia and that in the European Union and the difference in the rate of development are so enormous that this in itself constitutes a threat to security. There are nuclear power plants, the transportation of nuclear material, and then there is this problem over the Arctic region. Do the Commission and Denmark also now intend, within the framework of the Northern Dimension, to look into the issue of the so-called Arctic Window in the Northern Dimension, and what in concrete terms do they intend to achieve in doing so?


  Alavanos (GUE/NGL). – Mr President, I would also like to thank the Danish Prime Minister, but there was a position on the Cyprus issue that was a surprise for me. I think there is a small, delicate and, I hope, unintentional change in the text of the resolution of the Helsinki European Council. The resolution says that the decision on the accession of Cyprus will be taken without a political solution being a pre-condition.

Here, the Danish Prime Minister has said that "a final decision will be taken on the basis of all relevant factors". This is something very different from Mr Prodi's position, as well as the Commission's position, Mr Verheugen's position, from the European Parliament's position, from the Helsinki position and from the position of the Spanish presidency. I hope that there is no different intention on the part of the Danish presidency and I am expecting to hear confirmation in the second speech by the Danish Prime Minister, that, although we want a political solution and will try for one, it will not be a pre-condition for the accession of Cyprus.


  Tannock (PPE-DE). – Mr President, enlargement is a noble project and we owe it to our eastern European neighbours, whom we failed at Potsdam to protect from the yoke of communism, to welcome them back into the European family of nations. But there are many problems, ranging from the Irish ratification of Nice – though surely a plan B is already there if necessary – to the over-generous direct payments under CAP to farmers and the potential for large-scale immigration, particularly by the poorly integrated and nomadic Roma communities of whom there are very large numbers in eastern European countries.

I particularly welcome the two British Commonwealth countries, Malta and Cyprus, joining and this will increase the use of English in this institution, which I fully support. But I have concerns over Cyprus, as already mentioned on the other side of the House. It may have to join as a divided island, with all that this means for possible Turkish annexation of the north. What pressures can be applied, particularly to Mr Denktash, to make a deal with Mr Clerides to enable a united Cyprus to join the Union in 2004, as, I am sure, we would all wish in this House?


  Medina Ortega (PSE).(ES) Mr President, the Seville Summit commits the Danish Presidency to certain obligations which need to be fulfilled within a very short space of time.

Specifically, according to paragraph 32 of the Presidency Conclusions, the Council, the Commission and the Member States are each requested, in accordance with their competences, to implement the following measures before the end of 2002: the implementation of joint external border operations, the immediate implementation of pilot projects open to all interested Member States and the creation of a network of Member State officials to liase on immigration.

Bearing in mind the small amount of time available to the Danish Presidency, will you be in a position to support it in the achievement of these objectives which were very clearly set at the Seville Summit?


  Nicholson of Winterbourne (ELDR). – Mr President, thank you for this innovation which is most welcome. I congratulate the Danish presidency very warmly and naturally I congratulate my colleague, Mr Haarder, a former good member of the Committee on Foreign Affairs, Human Rights, Common Security and Defence Policy as well as of this group, on his current tasks.

However, friends in the presidency, I have a request for you which, as the Danish presidency, I believe you will wish to grant. Today in the Treaty of Rome we give rights – human rights and animal rights – but we give no rights to children. Yet the fall of the Berlin Wall and the ending of the Cold War threw open a devastating picture of child abuse, child neglect, child misery and child hunger and despair such as we have not seen in Europe since the Second World War. Today, with the enlargement of the European Union, the situation has not got better. Why do I say that? Because there is ample evidence, alas, that the breaking down of borders, that the enlargement of the European Union, factors such as globalisation, the Internet and Schengen Agreements have made the tragedy of child abuse still worse. Children today are at risk as they have not been before; they are trafficked around the globe in vast numbers. Traffickers, organised criminals and separation from their parents – these are among the many things of which children are victims.

The European Union cannot do everything, but we are uniquely powerful. What I ask is that you work with me and with the Children's Alliance, a group of us across the floor of this House, belonging to every single group, so that we can secure unanimous support. We seek to put into the Accession Treaty and into the Treaty of Rome something so simple, just a commitment to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, which every single Member State has signed and ratified. The most important convention in the history of the world, it has the most ratifications. Only the USA now stands out against it. The Commission has played its part. It is in the acquis communautaire. It should now be in the Accession Treaty and in the Treaty of Rome. President—in-Office, will you work with me on this?


  von Wogau (PPE-DE).(DE) Mr President, I should like to say a few brief words about Mr Schulz's speech. That was not a question; it was a campaign speech!


I can only conclude that the opinion polls have obviously made him very nervous, and this was also an opportunity like no other!

I should like to ask a question, Mr President-in-Office, about the division of competences during your presidency. Defence policy will be the responsibility not of Denmark but of Greece even during your presidency. We are, however, facing some very important decisions, particularly in the Balkans, for example concerning the American involvement there and the transfer of responsibility to the European Union. This raises the following question: how are you going to ensure optimal coordination between the civilian and military aspects of the operation, which are of course by their very nature inextricably linked? What role will the presidency play, and what part will be assigned to the Commission?


  President. – I have been allocated a schedule this morning that now exhausts the possibilities on the "catch the eye" system. I urge the more than 20 people whose names are on the list, at their groups, to encourage their presidents to offer more possibility for "catch the eye" the next time we experiment with this. It has been an interesting addition.


  Fogh Rasmussen, Council.(DA) First and foremost, I would like to thank you for a good and constructive debate. I have noted many important and insightful observations that I will take with me when I go away from here today. I will attempt to answer as many questions as possible, but the time I have available for answering questions unfortunately does not allow me to answer all the questions raised, but I would also like to ask that our European Affairs Minister be given opportunity to answer some of the questions. A number of election campaign speeches have been given here in the House. That is perhaps only right and natural, but I do not intend to get involved in the election campaign in individual countries.


Moreover, Mrs Frahm and Mr Krarup, who represent Denmark in Parliament, made contributions that I consider to be part of the discussion of and campaign for domestic policy in Denmark. I do not intend to go into that either. I think that the European Union has such great matters to deal with that we might well wish and expect a debate in the European Parliament to concentrate on European visions and not on the petty polemic of domestic policy.


I would like to thank Mr Poettering for his support of the Danish Presidency and I would like to say to Mr Poettering, Mr Watson and Mrs Maij-Weggen, who all raised the matter of openness, that it is the intention of the Danish Presidency to administer the rules on openness in such a way that there is the greatest degree of openness possible within the decisions made. I shall make no secret of the fact that I would like to have gone further with regard to openness, and I will work towards greater openness in respect of the legislative work in the European Union, but for the time being a decision has been made in Seville and the Danish Presidency will administer it in the broadest sense that we can.

Then Mr Poettering raised the matter of better legislation. We attach the greatest importance to this and we look forward to interinstitutional cooperation that will bring about better legislation. We will give this the very highest priority. Mr Poettering mentions the matter of Turkey. It is clear that as a candidate country Turkey must be treated the same as every other candidate country, i.e. Turkey cannot be given a date for starting negotiations concerning membership of the European Union until Turkey meets the political conditions – the Copenhagen criteria. Turkey does not do so at the current point in time.

Then Mr Poettering raised the matter of agricultural policy, as did Mr Watson. I would like to answer Mr Poettering and Mr Watson jointly, and at the same time take the opportunity to thank Mr Watson for his support of the Danish Presidency. I agree entirely that we must urge every country and every political leader in Europe not to let the enlargement of the European Union be held to ransom by their agricultural policy ambitions.


It would be a historic mistake of major proportions if anyone were to block the enlargement of the European Union because of disputes concerning a monetary amount which is, after all, of marginal importance. Let me firstly remind you that the Commission’s proposal means that the enlargement of the EU can be carried out within the frameworks of the existing budget. We do not need more money in order to implement enlargement of the European Union; and secondly, the Commission’s proposal concerning the gradual phasing in of direct subsidies to farmers in the new Member States will mean a small, modest amount of extra expenditure – extra expenditure that corresponds to less than one thousandth of the value of total production in the current Member States. I refuse to believe that any political leader in Europe wants to block the enlargement due to disputes over an amount that is less than one thousandth of production.


I would also like to answer the questions put forward by Mr Barón Crespo, whom I also thank for his good wishes concerning the Danish Presidency. I would like to correct a misunderstanding. The Danish Foreign Minister did not talk about using a stick against the applicant countries. On the contrary, we are preparing for real negotiations with the applicant countries. I would say to Mr Barón Crespo and also to Mr Bonde, who went into the matter of future reforms of agricultural policy – and here I am also talking as Danish Prime Minister – that Denmark supports future reforms of agricultural policy. I only wish, as President-in-Office of the European Council, to establish that such agricultural policy reforms should not be made a new condition of implementation of the enlargement of the European Union.

Mr Barón Crespo also raised the matter of the Middle East, as did Mr Laschet later in the debate. I would like to say that the Danish Presidency is currently considering how the EU can best contribute to restarting the peace process in the Middle East. I believe that, amongst other things, this will start to set in motion a process which may lead to reforms in Palestinian self-rule; after all, elections are not that far off. The aim of our current deliberations is to create a basis for a later peace conference in which the Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations can be resumed. I can state that the Danish Foreign Minister will be discussing this matter with the US Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, Colin Powell, later today – as is only natural, since we are endeavouring to bring about close cooperation between the EU, the United States and other members of the Quartet in respect of this matter. It is the intention of the Danish Presidency that the European Union can and should play a constructive part in the attempts to get the peace process in the Middle East restarted. Moreover, I can tell Mr Barón Crespo that the Danish Presidency is a great supporter of the community method in the EU. Unfortunately, time does not allow me to go into more depth with regard to the work of the Convention, but we consider it to be of the utmost importance.

Then several speakers have raised the matter of Cyprus. Mrs Maes, Mr Alavanos and Mr Tannock raised the matter of Cyprus. I would like to emphasise that the Danish Presidency will stick to the decisions made in Helsinki, which consist of three elements. Firstly, a solution to the Cyprus problem, such that it becomes a united island that we can include in the EU, would be an advantage; secondly, a solution is not a new condition of enlargement; thirdly, the Helsinki declaration states that when a decision is to be taken all relevant factors will be taken into consideration. And I would like to say to Mr Alavanos that there is nothing new in this. It is a decision taken in 1999 in Helsinki. The Danish Presidency will act on the basis of this decision and there is complete agreement between the Commission and the Presidency regarding the Cyprus issue.


Then I would like to say very briefly to Mr Dupuis that there are no current plans to make Georgia a candidate country. I certainly do not believe that Georgia meets the conditions for this. Regarding Chechnya I can say that the situation there will be included in the EU’s dialogue with Russia during the Danish Presidency. I will say to Mr Camre that he must have misunderstood me if he got the impression that I think that the decision on enlargement of the EU could be deferred without risk. If so, then Mr Camre has completely misunderstood my presentation, for on the contrary I conclude that it is now this autumn – that is, before the end of this year – that a decision must be taken on enlargement of the EU.

Then Mrs Ursula Stenzel asked whether the timetable set is realistic. Yes, I think that the timetable is realistic. It is ambitious, but it is realistic and here we must remember that the European Council in Seville made a very clear decision that the EU is to present a common standpoint on direct agricultural subsidies to the candidate countries by the beginning of November at latest. And that gives sufficient time between the beginning of November and the EU summit in Copenhagen in December for us to conduct the concluding negotiations with the candidate countries.

I would like to thank you for the clear and strong mandate that the European Parliament has today given the Danish Presidency regarding enlargement of the EU. I confirm that there is full agreement between Parliament, the Commission and the Presidency concerning the frameworks of the work ahead of us. Firstly, enlargement is the main task of the Danish Presidency, of the Union and of Europe, and secondly we have a unique and historic opportunity that we must not pass up. If we do not conclude the negotiations by the end of the year we risk deferring the enlargement far into the future. I would like to thank the Parliament for its support. The Danish Presidency will do its utmost to ensure that we can achieve a result at the summit in Copenhagen in December, but – as I said earlier – the Presidency cannot achieve this task alone. It requires support from all our partners. Not just Parliament and the Commission, but also the Member States and the candidate countries. Thirteen years have now passed since the fall of the Wall. Nine years have passed since the summit in Copenhagen at which we set the criteria for membership, and five years since the negotiations were started. We cannot now ask the candidate countries to wait any longer. It is now that we must deliver on our promises. It is now that we must be aware of our historic responsibility. It is now that we must close one of the dark chapters in the history of Europe. I look forward to cooperating with the European Parliament on this major task.



  Prodi, President of the Commission. – (IT) I will reply very briefly, Mr President, and just make a few things clear. Firstly, there is absolutely no truth in the idea that Community aid to the Middle East is not subject to controls and conditions. It is time we put paid to such statements, which come from outside and paint a ridiculous picture of the situation which is completely unfounded and bears no resemblance to the facts. In company with the other institutions and to an even greater degree than the Monetary Fund, the Commission is supporting the projects for peace infrastructures in the Middle East, which I am sad to say have been destroyed by the war, it is implementing the decisions adopted by the Council on providing aid to the Palestinian Authority and is continuing to effect the necessary controls, although, I regret to say, this tragic war makes it more difficult to carry out the controls effectively. I would, however, draw Parliament’s attention to the importance of giving these unfounded statements, which continue to sully the name of our institutions, short shrift.


I will also reply briefly to the point about the Nordic dimension, which is and will continue to be of great importance to the Commission, both as a tool in relations with Russia and with a view to resolving specific issues and problems. I will mention just one point, as the Danish Presidency is here, and that is the importance of the constructive, amicable relationship with Greenland and the importance of the geographical, strategic and also human aspects of our relations with that region.

Now, Mr Schultz, a brief comment on the part of your speech directed at me personally. I have been present on a number of occasions at meetings of the Liberal Party, of the European People’s Party and, I am happy to say, at the kind invitation of Mr Barón Crespo, of the Socialist Party and the Greens as well. I am not a tricoloured President, I am a multicoloured President, which is much better than a tricoloured President, for being a tricoloured President would be limiting, very limiting in this case!

(Applause and laughter)

Lastly, I would like to thank Parliament for the great vote of confidence in the Danish Presidency expressed by all the political groupings. This support is deserved and is necessary for our work. If we are to succeed in an operation of historic import for our continent such as enlargement, we must all be united, and this unity must enable us to overcome the differences between the political groupings and the internal political wrangles too, it must enable us to reach the necessary agreement on outstanding instruments, and it must bring coherent action from all the Union’s institutions. In this respect, the interinstitutional dialogue will be decisive in terms of both improving decision-making and preparing for enlargement under the existing rules. Indeed, our institutions must be fully functional as soon as enlargement has taken place, and we must start the preparations now. Lastly, we need unity to show that Europe is equal to the huge challenges before it. Indeed, in the coming months, the political and economic challenges will be even greater than they have been in recent months, and Europe’s presence will be essential in the world, starting with Johannesburg, and to an even greater degree afterwards as autumn progresses. We will have to respond to the new huge demands of civilisation both within the Union, where we must ensure freedom and security, and outside the Union too, where we must contribute to world governance. As I said just now, Johannesburg is only the beginning and the world genuinely needs a new system, a new mentality, first and foremost, and then a new political system.



  President. – Thank you for your multicoloured contribution, President-in-Office.


  Cushnahan (PPE-DE). – Mr President, I would like to congratulate the Danish government on assuming the presidency and wish them all success during their six months in office. They have a formidable task ahead of them and I welcome the top priority that they have given to completing the enlargement negotiations by December.

I support the sentiments expressed recently by the Danish foreign minister, Per Stig Møller, when he underlined the need for the EU to deliver on its promises to the applicant countries. However, we also have a moral obligation to honour promises already given to existing Member States. The proposals currently being considered by agriculture Commissioner Franz Fischler, as part of the CAP mid-term review, are a betrayal of the Berlin Agenda 2000 agreement. New proposals on modulation and the de-coupling of livestock premiums in favour of a system based on area-based payments spell disaster for EU farmers.

As much as 20% of farmers' total direct payments would be clawed back and transferred to some rural development measures or returned back into the CAP budget itself. As grain and livestock producers are now totally dependant on direct payments for their incomes, the new proposals would put them out of business.

Farming incomes have already fallen. Agriculture is the cornerstone of the rural economy in Europe and rural development will be a meaningless platitude if farmers are penalised and impoverished by the implementation of the proposals currently leaked by the EU Commission. Preparing for enlargement by penalising farmers is morally and politically wrong and could well result in alienating them from the enlargement process itself.

Instead enlargement should be financed from within the current budget by increasing spending to existing threshold limits. At the moment, the budget is being under-spent by as much as 20%, totalling some EUR 25 billion. By using these monies, the EU would be demonstrating its political will to proceed with enlargement with conviction and on time.


  Murphy (PSE). – Mr President, I wish to add my welcome to the Danish presidency and I welcome in particular the commitment to one Europe, which is very important.

My message to you, President-in-Office, is exactly the same as my message three weeks ago here to the outgoing Spanish presidency. The Commission and Parliament are doing their jobs on enlargement; it is now up to the Council to deliver and to ensure that enlargement takes place. History will neither forgive nor forget the governments of the European Union if, by squabbling over a few million euro, they delay this historic project. Now is the time to deliver upon our promises.


It is not the time to introduce new hurdles to the enlargement process. The reform of the common agricultural policy is important but it is not linked to enlargement. Again, that is a message you must take back to the Council. Everybody will calm down as the medium-term review becomes clearer, but that is a message we need you to take back to the governments. We support you on your three issues. The criteria are there to be followed and they must be followed. We will work with you on that. Nobody should be delayed if they are ready to come in, and December 2002 is the crucial date.

Mr Watson made a rather shabby and silly remark about the United Kingdom. I have to say that even in his so-called "bleak Britain" anybody – whatever their age – can marry whoever they want. Perhaps he would like to join with me in inviting young people from Denmark to come to Britain and marry whoever they want and then return, if they so wish.

Now is the time for action not words, as you said. However, over the next few months a few more harsh words and a lot of hard talk will take place. When you come back here in December after the summit meeting I really hope that we will all be singing with one voice: wonderful, wonderful Copenhagen! Thank you.




President. – Thank you. We look forward to that final chorus. In the meantime, I call Mr Caveri.


  Caveri (ELDR).(IT) Mr President, I greatly appreciated the Danish Prime Minister’s words this morning, particularly what he had to say about the somewhat sensitive issue of enlargement, and it must be pointed out that he was in complete harmony with the President of the Commission on such a sensitive, key issue. This gives rise to at least two points. The first is the need to influence public opinion in our countries because, although it is certainly true that the Irish referendum will be crucial and decisive, it is equally true that we must ensure that the enlargement process is explained and understood in our countries, and this is a task which is the responsibility of every Member of the European Parliament.

The second point concerns the referendums which will be held in the candidate countries. Here, too, we must keep an eye on the process, to avoid a domino effect which could prove to be extremely negative, discouraging, of course, the populist influences emerging more or less everywhere, which paint European integration in an extremely negative light.

Another decisive point is without a doubt the work of the Convention. In 2003 and 2004, we will have to deal with an institutional overload, what with the elections, enlargement and the Intergovernmental Conference. I would like to say to the Danish Presidency that there are at least two subjects being discussed in the Convention which will be of some interest to Denmark as well, the first being the question of the role of linguistic minorities in Europe, which is still topical. This is an important subject for the Member States as well as the candidate countries. The other subject, which has already been mentioned in this House, is the question of the status within the European Union of the regions which have a legislative power recognised by the individual Constitutions. Here, too, the subject is of particular importance, for if we do not succeed in genuinely reconciling federalism and subsidiarity the misconceptions regarding the European machinery are likely to increase somewhat.

I would like to mention once again the admirable method employed by the Danish Presidency which enabled all the Parliamentary committees, including the committee of which I am chairman, to hold a series of meetings with the coordinators in Copenhagen. Here, at last, is the promise of a real, physical Council presence within the committees to debate the progress of the individual reports at the crucial moments before they are debated in the House. I feel that this innovation – and I am addressing Mr Haarder here – is extremely significant, for we are still, to some extent, suffering from a problem of relations with the Council which is having extremely negative effects.

As regards the subjects which concern the activity of my committee, in particular, I must highlight two points which involve Parliament as a whole and, of course, the group I belong to as well. The first issue concerns the added importance which will be assumed by the debate on cohesion policy and regional policy as of the coming months. I would point out that we will have the second interim report on cohesion in January and the third during 2003, which will be the decisive report. We can therefore say that the discussions taking place during this part-session are crucial.

It is equally important to pursue the work on the White Paper. In this regard, I would like to point out a matter with which the Danes will be faced that requires urgent resolution, and that is the question of the Austrian ecopoints system. This is an extremely sensitive political issue to which some solution must be found for, as we know, it is a burden on the enlargement process too, and it is evidence of the transalpine transport crisis.


  Wurtz (GUE/NGL).(FR) Mr President, I was anxious to comply with the new rules governing the organisation of debates by drawing the conclusions myself on behalf of my group. Not everyone, I am sorry to say, has taken the same decision.

I should like to make three observations. The first relates to the completion of the enlargement negotiations. I agree with what has been said about the timetable. Deferring or rushing the final stage of the negotiating process would have destabilising political consequences; in other words, the political price would be too high. I cannot agree, on the other hand, with what has been said about the Commission’s proposals regarding the agricultural budget and agricultural aid. Mr Rasmussen spoke of reasonable proposals, Mr Prodi of the “only possible basis”. We should be aware, however – and you are aware – that these proposals are seen as discriminatory in the countries of central Europe and as a danger signal from the European Union. Similarly, certain other economic aspects of established Community law and practice are considered by the people of those countries to be excessively severe restraints. One need only follow the political debate in Poland. The chosen solution does not seem to be the best way to create a more stable and united Europe, which is the aim of enlargement.

My second remark, of a more general nature, could be summed up in the phrase ‘Be wary when things are too quiet’. Mr Prodi, your reading of the Eurobarometer has been selective. I believe you are clutching at straws. If there really is a broad consensus, why should strategic decisions be postponed until after the French and German elections? Why be afraid of the Irish referendum? In fact, as we all know, there is a great deal of friction between the European authorities and the people of Europe. I am convinced that this problem has to be tackled head-on and that the public must be given the opportunity to become far more actively involved in the shaping of European policy and, to this end, in developing a set of policies that can motivate and mobilise people and foster solidarity among them. This is a vital challenge that our Union must meet.

Finally, I believe the debate has been very interesting in many respects, but it has been rather superficial on the role of the Union in the world. Let me cite three examples. Only a vague reference was made to Africa. At the G8 Summit, the action plan for Africa was mentioned, which the Africans estimated to be worth USD 64 billion. But no funds have ever been committed. In the European Union itself, the Cotonou Agreement has not yet been ratified by all fifteen Member States, so it cannot enter into force. We must step up a gear. My second example is the Earth Summit in Johannesburg and its implications for our entire planet. Here too, the preparations for the summit have come up against financial issues and run the risk of failure. What initiatives do you think the Union should take? My third example relates to the transatlantic links you cited, Mr President-in-Office, without a word on unilateralism or on the incredible decision made by the US Administration to hold the UN and the Balkan peace process to ransom in a bid to obtain immunity from international justice. I believe we ought to have heard your thoughts on all of these points.


  Frassoni (Verts/ALE).(IT) Mr President, I would like to welcome the Danish Presidency.

Firstly, as regards Europe, here is an extremely clear message which it is a pleasure to hear. We too are pulling out all the stops to ensure that this goal is achieved. But what Europe, President-in-Office? At the end of this debate, the new form of which I too, for my part, have greatly appreciated, we have three messages for you. Firstly, in contrast with what you have said, in our opinion, your asylum and immigration policies are not an internal question. There must be correspondence and coherence between what you do and say in Denmark and what you do and say here. Such a wide discrepancy is unacceptable.

We are extremely concerned because Denmark is now in danger of no longer being the beacon of welcome and integration that it was in the past. It is proving that rights and freedoms are never completely won and can change with every new government. You Danes even dare to mete out the love you give according to the nationality and age of the recipient, and that is something which is really extremely disturbing from a European point of view. We are convinced that the way you direct the Council will depend not least upon your behaviour in these matters at home.

Secondly, Cyprus. We were quite concerned to hear your Minister for Foreign Affairs say “We do not have to do anything. We can leave it to the United States”. That is not so. As far as enlargement is concerned, the way the European Union manages these last months of negotiations is absolutely crucial. Despite the Helsinki declarations and the declarations of other major Councils, we can on no account allow a country which is divided by a wall or a Green Line to enter the European Union. We – and you – must do absolutely everything possible to resolve this matter.

Thirdly, as regards Johannesburg, although the European Union has an absolute priority, President-in-Office, you did not say in your speech what that priority is for Johannesburg. In our opinion, there is only one priority: we must make it clear through our words and actions that trade and the market do not take precedence over every form of environmental undertaking or over environmental agreements. This is the message that must be sent out from Johannesburg, a message that is never, ever heard nowadays, apart from possibly in some of the phrases the Commission has used today in European Union documents. This is the strategic line that we must take at Johannesburg and this is what I would like to hear you say today.


  Camre (UEN).(DA) Mr President, firstly I regret the fact that Prime Minister Fogh Rasmussen got the impression that I was trying to suggest that his commitment to implementing enlargement was anything less than absolute. I would not dream of doing so. I merely wanted to acknowledge the Prime Minister’s comment that enlargement would take place whatever the circumstances, even if it does not succeed this year.

A couple of my Danish colleagues and also a couple of Swedish colleagues have directed criticism towards the Danish Government’s policy on refugees and immigration and also towards its policy on developing countries. Although Mr Watson excellently drew the comparison between being an asylum-seeker in Denmark and in England respectively, a number of false allegations were made concerning Danish policy; we heard this most recently in what Mrs Frassoni said a moment ago. In view of this and in view of the fact that three-quarters of the Danish population supports government policy in this area, I would like to ask the Prime Minister or possibly Europe Minister Haarder to confirm two things. Firstly, that the report on human rights for which the European Affairs Minister Mr Haarder was rapporteur whilst he was a member of the European Parliament is complied with in every respect in the new policy on foreigners implemented by the governing parties and the Dansk Folkeparti. Secondly, I would like to ask the Prime Minister to confirm that Danish development aid in 2002 is firstly the second highest amount in Denmark’s history, and secondly the highest amount that any country has provided relative to that country’s gross national product.


  Bonde (EDD).(DA) Mr President, it is not usual to praise one’s opponents, but I would like to praise Anders Fogh Rasmussen for a good speech and particularly because, as when our Queen was here, he did not side with the Danish opponents of union. We can deal with that disagreement in Denmark.

Here we have a joint project involving opening up the EU and I would ask the Danish Presidency to place all agendas, minutes and working documents from the legislative process on the ‘dk2002’ website. When the EU acts as legislator there should be the same openness as in the national parliaments, and when administration is carried out by the EU citizens should have better access to documents.

Then I would like to warn the Prime Minister against using enlargement against the Irish opponents of the Nice Treaty. As far as I am aware, they have all stated that they support enlargement and in technical terms it is quite easy to take declaration No 20 from the summit in Nice and place numbers of votes and seats in the European Parliament in the accession treaties. Technically it is easy, and the Nice Treaty is no thing of beauty and is otherwise to be amended by the Convention that is in progress and the coming Intergovernmental Conference, as Valéry Giscard d’Estaing, the Chairman of the Convention, so rightly points out in the Danish newspapers today. I quote in English from the Berlingske Tidende:


”The solution will not be to ignore the vote but to handle the situation. Probably it requires taking from the Nice Treaty what is necessary to carry through enlargement.”


(DA) ...and it was not me, but Valéry Giscard d’Estaing, the Chairman of the Convention, who said this in the Berlingske Tidende today. I would warn the Prime Minister not to botch enlargement by giving countries occasion to bring in other considerations when we reach the end of the road.


  Gollnisch (NI).(FR) On the occasion of Denmark’s accession to the presidency of the European Union, the elected representatives of the European Right wish to place on record their admiration of the manner in which Denmark has managed to reconcile its membership of the Union with the preservation of its national sovereignty. Indeed, Denmark, a country with a glorious tradition, small only in surface area and population, has been remarkable in the way it has conducted its policy on Europe – firstly because it has dared to consult its people directly and systematically on the commitments it intends to make on their behalf, and secondly because the Danish Government listens to these expressions of the popular will. Even though it was compelled to hold a second referendum on Maastricht, Denmark refused to go over the heads of the Danish people and adopt the single currency against their will.

Today, the krone still exists, and the Danish economy, needless to say, is doing rather better than those of the euro area. Denmark has also opted out of the common immigration policy. Incidentally, it is currently implementing its own very sound national immigration measures. Denmark is not taking part in the common defence policy either. In the realm of police and judicial cooperation it retains very significant national prerogatives, allowing it to derogate from common provisions. It has managed to resist or restrict all its transfers of sovereignty in areas that affect the very heart of statehood and has done so in the legitimate interests of the Danish nation. This has not handicapped it in any respect; on the contrary, it has been a genuine advantage in the negotiations on the accession of ten prospective new Member States that wish to join us but are anxious not to squander the freedom they have so recently recovered.

Denmark is proof that it is possible to take part in Europe without sacrificing more to the Brussels system than is strictly necessary. Denmark is proof that it pays to be firm in the face of the diktats of anti-nationalist ideology, triumphant though it may seem at this moment, when a convention is drafting a constitution for a centralised Eurocratic superstate, which, by its very nature, is contrary to the real essence of Europe. I hope the other governments in Europe will draw inspiration from Danish practice and pursue a course that threatens neither their freedom nor their national identities, rooted as they are in a thousand years of history.


  Brok (PPE-DE).(DE) Mr President, ladies and gentlemen, I have learnt one thing from this debate between the group chairmen, the Council Presidency and the Commission: everyone agrees that there is one single priority for the coming six months, and that is enlargement, enlargement, enlargement. At the same time I have observed something that I do not think we have ever seen before: complete agreement between the majority of this House, the Commission and the Council Presidency on the procedure and timetable. We really should work through this together, because this is the only way that we will be capable of completing this historic task.

I am also grateful for the fact that it has been made clear, as we have stated in Parliament's resolution, that no new conditions must be attached to enlargement, and that it has been made clear that we need a reform of agricultural policy, but that this is not a new condition either. And if the mistakes of Agenda 2000 are now to be rectified, then this should not be to the detriment of the accession countries; those who negotiated Agenda 2000 must accept their political responsibility rather than off-loading it onto the electorate or the accession candidates.

It continues to be necessary to make it very clear that the principle of differentiation still applies. Even now, with ten countries that will probably be able to make the final leap, they should also be aware that even so, at the end of the day, each individual country will have to be assessed on whether it meets the conditions. This means that as yet none of them can be absolutely certain. That is also why a number of things will have to be checked, for example with a country like Poland there will have to be a discussion about whether the central bank will have to remain independent or not. These are important issues and they will have to be examined in a context such as this; for this reason no country should feel too sure of itself.

Mr President, I should like to encourage you to pursue the Kaliningrad issue. But I should also like to make it very clear that for historical and pragmatic reasons the solution to the Kaliningrad issue cannot lie in creating corridors. For the reasons I have mentioned, I do not believe that we can expect either the Lithuanians or the Poles to welcome the creation of a corridor through their country, and because of this we have to show some willingness to compromise when applying the Schengen criteria, but of course here we also need to guarantee the credibility of our secure external border in a Europe that guarantees freedom of movement. It seems clear to me, however, that this is also a great opportunity to build bridges to Russia.

In the autumn of this year we will have to hold difficult discussions with Turkey, a country that is, for strategic reasons, extremely important for us. We must make every effort to ensure that, because of these strategic reasons, Turkey remains part of our Europe, but if the price for compromises on the use of NATO facilities for the CESDP and on Cypriot membership is inconsistent compliance with the Copenhagen criteria then this is unacceptable.


I do not believe that this price can be paid because it would call into question the credibility of the entire enlargement process for the future. I know – because I cannot think of an answer at the moment either – that it is going to be a hugely difficult task for the Council Presidency and the Commission to overcome this problem. Nevertheless, I believe that we will take this opportunity, that we will make a success of it and that above all we will make it clear that the unification of Europe is not about settling the accounts of the past, but that the unification of Europe is a way of ensuring that the past, which was so dreadful, never comes back, and that this is about giving this continent a fresh start.



  Schulz (PSE).(DE) Mr President, I am delighted to be given the floor after Mr Brok because what he said was music to my ears. His intervention was factual and not polemical and was the first such intervention that we have heard this morning from the German section of the PPE-DE Group. I have heard several times that Mr Haarder was a good colleague. This can only be a reference to his private life. Politically he was many things, but he was not good; I know, because for many years I had to work with him in the Committee on Citizens' Freedoms and Rights, Justice and Home Affairs. If the policy that Mr Haarder advocated there for years, the line of Danish liberalism, actually becomes the asylum and immigration policy of the European Union, then it will have very little to do with being good and much to do with being harsh.

I should like to say one thing to you, Mr Rasmussen: your position as President-in-Office of the Council does not give you the right to ask Parliament not to concern itself with the domestic politics of Member States, in particular when in his own country, in an area that the Seville Council has said is a priority for the European Union, namely asylum and immigration, the President—in-Office is actually pursuing a policy which he even says himself should become the model for European Union policy. Of course we will be concerning ourselves with Danish domestic policy! The most important speech from your point of view was that given by Mr Camre. Mr Camre is of course the representative of Pia Kjærsgaard's party, the Danish People's Party, by whose silk thread your government dangles. What this party says is very close to the views put forward here by Mr Gollnisch. If I were you, I would give some thought to whether it is right for a Council presidency to seek to pursue a policy that has the full agreement of the Front National. The fact is that the message you are trying to get across has nothing to do with tolerance or well-ordered immigration, but everything to do with impenetrable borders and the exclusion of minorities. In the European Union we need a combination of two things: for as long as there is no well-ordered immigration, illegal immigration will flourish.


That is why we need to restore order to immigration. In addition to this, however, we need to recognise that immigration happens. Nevertheless, we cannot have immigration at any price. The European Union and the Member States have the right to shape immigration and asylum policy. In exercising this right they are obliged to uphold humane principles. If you are going to refer to Jean Monnet, Mr Rasmussen, then I have to tell you to apply Monnet's method. Your government's philosophy is very distant from that of Monnet. And Spinelli, to whom you also referred, was a Communist politician in Italy who was persecuted there. Whether he would have been granted asylum in your country under the present conditions is something that would require a very detailed examination.



  Andersson (PSE). (SV) Mr President, I would like to welcome the Danish Presidency. I live as close to Denmark as is possible. I can see Denmark from my window. It is only four kilometres away across the narrowest stretch of Öresund.

I am also pleased to welcome the Danish Presidency’s major prioritisation of enlargement. I hope and believe that you will bring this about. During the Swedish Presidency, we carried the baton a long way forward. Now it is time to cross the finishing line, and I believe that with care you will succeed in this.

I also have some hope for the UN conference in Johannesburg. I am currently a little pessimistic, having seen the Spanish Presidency fail to prioritise sustainable development. I hope you will not incline too much towards the US, for example on environmental issues. There is a wide gap between Europe and the US on these issues. We can only hope that the US aligns itself more with us, but we cannot rely on it.

Like many others, I would also like to bring up the asylum and refugee policy. In this context, I would like to refer to a report by Mr Haarder, in which Member States were urged, in conjunction with the development of a common asylum system, to go one step further than the minimum levels for harmonisation by adopting high standards of protection as the basis for future asylum systems

However, Denmark has done exactly the opposite in the time that Mr Haarder has been a minister. Denmark has gone from a high standard down to what may be the minimum level, instead of doing as the European Parliament said, namely trying to maintain high standards of protection.

I am disappointed in the Seville Summit in this respect, as it mostly dealt with illegal immigration. I am aware of the problem and realise that it requires resolution, but this cannot be brought about by a less generous asylum and refugee policy. Therefore, I am incredibly disappointed in Denmark. You have responsibility as the Presidency-in-Office to live up to what was said in the European Parliament when Mr Haarder was a Member and Vice-President. You ought to reflect a little when you receive criticism from your party colleagues in Sweden, from us Swedish Social Democrats, but applause from the National Front. That should give pause for thought.


  Haarder, Council. – (DA) Mr President, I would like to thank my former colleagues for the very friendly reception that I have been given. I feel almost like the prodigal son in the Bible returning home to feasting and joy.

I can assure Mr Barón Crespo, Mrs Frahm, Mr Gahrton, Mr Olle Schmidt, Mr Andersson, Mrs Frassoni and Mr Schulz that the Presidency will follow up all the Tampere objectives, i.e. the objective of creating an area of freedom, security and justice in Europe. This has a prominent place in our presidency programme and was also emphasised in the Prime Minister’s speech.

We will follow up the entire Seville declaration, and in the area of asylum we will even attempt to achieve more than was envisaged in Seville. According to the Seville declaration the common asylum policy is to be ready in 2003, but we will attempt to get as much as possible completed already under the Danish Presidency. We have drawn up a timetable, a ‘road map’, that we have given to the Commission and which we will send to Parliament. Here Mr Medina and others will be able to read that the matters of repatriation, sending back and border controls are well under way. In just three weeks’ time the heads of border controls will meet in Copenhagen to discuss how we can implement the Seville decision in reality. I am happy to tell Mr Gahrton and others that the Danish Government has stated from the start that we wish for a common asylum policy that lives up to all the international obligations and more; and I will happily say to Mrs Frahm, Mr Camre and others that naturally I will live up to what I said in my speeches here in the House and in the reports on human rights that I prepared in 1998 and 1999. Unfortunately, Denmark has an opt-out from the Treaties in this area. I say unfortunately and appeal to Mrs Frahm, Mr Gahrton and others to help us get rid of these opt-outs, which we would like to do so that we can perhaps cooperate on them. However, I am happy to assure Parliament that the Danish Presidency will not in any way be weakened by the Danish opt-out; we will do everything we can to bring about unity among the fourteen, and thereafter we in Denmark will seek to adapt ourselves to the common rules. You could call that a positive attitude.

I would like to promise Baroness Nicholson every conceivable support in the efforts to apply common rules and bring common actions and negotiations with third countries to bear against the appalling problems of child abuse that Baroness Nicholson has studied so thoroughly and drawn Parliament’s attention to time after time.

I hope that Mr Cushnahan does not expect me to respond to a Commission memorandum on agricultural policy that has not yet been produced. I agree with Mr Murphy in what he said about the matter.

Mr Caveri has a great commitment to minority policy and I listened with interest to what he said about the need for a solidarity policy.

I respect Mr Wurtz’s commitment to combating poverty in Africa and I would draw his attention to the fact that this afternoon I will be answering a question concerning the new American attitude to the International Criminal Court – so I will deal with that, too, here in the House this afternoon.

Finally, I would like to promise Mr Schulz that I will be happy to explain to him at any time how minority governments work, because they are not used to them in Mr Schulz’s country. It works by everyone cooperating with everyone else, and that may be difficult for outsiders to understand.

Last of all, I would like to thank Mr Brok; as always, I listened with great attention to what he said and I would like to thank him, the Committee on Foreign Affairs, Human Rights, Common Security and Defence Policy and all of Parliament for the fact that a clear position was taken on the enlargement at so early a stage as this spring. There is huge support for what is the top priority of the Danish Presidency. So now that we have been thanked there is reason for us to thank Parliament, which has shown the way here with its rapid and clear decisions



President. – I should like to thank the Prime Minister and the Minister for European Affairs for their presence and for responding to the debate which we look forward to continuing during the course of the presidency.
The debate is closed.

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