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Texts adopted
Thursday, 29 November 2001 - Brussels Final edition
Preparation of Laeken European Council
B5-0741, 0742, 0744 and 0745/2001

European Parliament resolution on the preparation of the Laeken European Council

The European Parliament,

-  having regard to its resolution of 25 October 2001 on the results of the informal European Council meeting in Ghent on 19 October 2001(1) ,

-  having regard to the statements by the Council and the Commission on the preparation of the European Council meeting in Laeken on 14-15 December 2001,

-  having regard to its resolution of 29 November 2001 on the constitutional process and the the future of the Union(2) ,

-  having regard to the EU terrorism roadmap, drafted as a response to the recent terrorist attacks, as well as the conclusions of the Brussels European Council on 21 September 2001, the Ghent European Council on 19 October 2001 and its resolutions on these summits, adopted on 4 October(3) and 25 October 2001,

A.  whereas the Union is preparing itself for early enlargement with a view to accepting as new Member States those candidate states that satisfy the Copenhagen criteria in time for their people to participate in the 2004 European elections,

B.  whereas this preparation includes further necessary changes to the Union's Institutions and their interrelationships,

C.  whereas the final transition to the euro on 1 January 2002, for the euro-zone Member States, is also taking place against the background of a global economic slowdown,

On the future of the European Union

1.  Welcomes the Council decision under the Belgian Presidency to establish the Convention in accordance with the European Parliament's request to prepare for institutional reform, and refers to its abovementioned resolution of 29 November 2001;

On Afghanistan

2.  Welcomes the recent developments on the ground in Afghanistan in the fight against terrorism and the Taliban regime and considers that it remains indispensable to attain the objective of destroying the al-Qa'ida terrorist network and capturing its leaders;

3.  Considers it essential that a transitional government, made up of representatives of all Afghan groupings, explicitly including local civil organisations, in particular women's organisations, and respecting human rights and international humanitarian law, be constituted in Afghanistan; welcomes the meeting in Bonn under the aegis of the United Nations;

4.  Demands that full support be given to the United Nations in its search for solutions and necessary means;

5.  Welcomes the humanitarian aid by ECHO and calls on the Council to immediately provide, in cooperation with the UN agencies, necessary humanitarian aid to populations in Afghanistan as well as to the thousands of refugees in neighbouring countries, and also to make proposals for the undertaking of a plan for the reconstruction of the country according to the guidelines defined by the Ghent European Council; calls on the Council, acting on a proposal by the Commission, to propose adequate appropriations in the budget for 2002;

6.  Express its compassion to the families of all those who have lost their lives in Afghanistan and in particular to the families of the journalists, whose work is a courageous testimony to the situation on the ground;

On the Middle East

7.  Reaffirms its appeal to Israelis and Palestinians to immediately reopen negotiations on the basis of all the agreements previously signed by both parties; in this respect, considers indispensable the application of the recommendations of the Mitchell report, without any delay or conditions;

8.  Welcomes the recent proposals by US President Bush and Secretary of State Powell for a settlement of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and considers that the best conditions now exist for a joint EU-US initiative in the region;

9.  Proposes that the European Council, in cooperation with the USA, launch a fresh initiative for the establishment of a viable Palestinian state while fully respecting the security and integrity of Israel;

10.  Regrets strongly declarations made by Israeli Prime Minister Sharon on the occasion of the visit by the EU Troika in the region and calls on the Council and the Commission to pursue their initiatives in the political and diplomatic fields to restart the peace process according to the principles of the Madrid Conference;

11.  Considers it essential to continue to provide assistance to Palestinian populations affected by an extremely serious economic and social situation;

On the Balkans

12.  Welcomes the peaceful and orderly elections in Kosovo and in particular the participation of all groups of the population; calls on Ibrahim Rugova and his Democratic League of Kosovo to seek the broadest possible coalition representing the interests of all sections of the Kosovo population;

13.  Calls on the Commission, Council and Member States to maintain their complete commitment in the Balkans, including via the Stability Pact, in order to guarantee a long-term peaceful development and an end to the continuing tensions between the different groups within the population; encourages all Balkan countries to foster cooperation in the region as a guarantee of positive economic, political and social development of the whole of the Balkans;

14.  Welcomes the constitutional changes adopted by the Macedonian parliament giving ethnic Albanians more rights;

On the ESDP

15.  Welcomes the efforts made by the Member States at the Capabilities Improvement Conference in addressing shortfalls in defence capabilities and in reassessing the European Union's Security and Defence Policy after the attacks of 11 September 2001 on the USA;

16.  Stresses that, for the ESDP to become truly operational, European operations must include the possible use of NATO assets; insists that the European Council settle the operation and financing of the Rapid Reaction Force as well as questions of democratic accountability so that the Union can contribute more effectively to the prevention of conflict;

On enlargement

17.  Welcomes the optimistic tone of the Commission's annual progress reports on candidate countries, which indicate that up to ten accession candidates could complete their negotiations by the end of 2002, but stresses that in these countries huge efforts still have to be made, notably with regard to the implementation of the acquis communautaire;

18.  In this context, supports the Commission's proposal to make available more resources for an 'action plan' to develop the administrative and legal capacity of candidate countries and asks the Commission to report to Parliament on the implementation of the 'action plan' before the 2002 spring European Council meeting;

19.  Rejects any modification of the conclusions of the Helsinki European Council and the Copenhagen criteria as regards the evaluation of the candidate countries which will be carried out on the basis of merit and in line with the principle of differentiation;

20.  Reaffirms its commitment to ensuring that no country should be able to hold the negotiations hostage, and calls on the European Council to join it in condemning recent statements by Turkish ministers that Turkey may annex the occupied north of the island if Cyprus accedes to the Union before a political settlement is reached; welcomes in this respect the future meeting between the President of Cyprus and the leader of the Turkish community;

21.  Reiterates that further improvements need to be made by the candidate countries as regards the establishment of, and respect for, democratic, human and minority rights, especially in the case of the Roma; believes, however, that a coherent policy for the democratic participation of the Roma in the European integration process has to be launched not only at the national, but also at the EU level; calls in this respect on the Council and the Commission to enter into a structured dialogue with Roma communities and to provide the necessary administrative resources for the establishment in the Commission of a task-force for the Roma;

On social and economic matters

22.  Calls upon the European Council from now on to include the economic situation as a regular agenda item in order that, on the basis of the Stability and Growth Pact, economic policy-making in the European Union becomes better coordinated, and more united in resisting the synchronised global slowdown; stresses the importance of also recording progress on the tax package;

23.  Given the importance of the 10-year reform programme agreed in the spring of 2000 in Lisbon, calls on the Laeken European Council to see to it that the second spring review meeting, in Barcelona, is well prepared; in particular, the European Council is asked to concentrate on ensuring that the Council works in such a way that the various Council formations respect the priorities and deadlines for structural reforms laid down;

24.  Considers that social dialogue should be fostered and strengthened as a key factor in meeting the social and labour market policy challenges facing Europe, but also as a key factor in the macro-economic dialogue to develop more positive interaction between economic, social and employment policies; expects the social partners to be involved on a formal basis in the preparation of the Spring Summit;

25.  Calls on the Council to endorse the social exclusion indicators agreed by the Social Protection Committee and to agree on an open method of coordination in the field of pensions which safeguards sustainable and universal pension schemes, based on the concept of solidarity and social cohesion;

26.  Strongly supports the Presidency's efforts towards an active and socially oriented EU approach to restructuring and calls on the Council to give the Commission a mandate to devise a more holistic and proactive approach to industrial change;

27.  Stresses the importance of a successful Laeken European Council as a way of instilling confidence in the European public in the use of euro notes and coins from 1 January 2002, which requires the public to be fully informed on the changeover;

28.  Calls on the Council to take concrete action in accordance with the overwhelming opinion of the European Parliament as expressed in its resolution of 13 November 2001(4) , concerning 'support vis-à-vis the Commission [for[ its proposal for a framework directive on the objectives and organisational arrangements of services of general interest based on Article 95 of the EC Treaty; this directive should create a legal framework which guarantees the availability of services of general interest to the public;

29.  Welcomes the launch of a new round of comprehensive trade negotiations at the 4th WTO Ministerial Conference in Doha, which will help promote confidence in the world economy; calls on the European Council to lend support to the establishment of a WTO parliamentary body, as called for by parliamentarians present at Doha;

On justice and home affairs

30.  Asks the Council and the Member States to reach an agreement on the Framework Decisions on combating terrorism and the European arrest warrant in time for the Laeken European Council, taking into account Parliament's position on both legislative acts, and recalls the importance of these Framework Decisions in the context of achieving a European area of freedom, security and justice;

31.  Considers that the Commission's scoreboard and the report presented by the Presidency show the lack of progress made in the AFSJ and that the mid-term Treaty objectives and timetable were not met, due mainly to the unanimity requirement in the Council and to the lack of political commitment of Member States;

32.  Supports the establishment of the International Criminal Court and invites all States to ratify its Statute;

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33.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the European Council, the Council, the Commission and the governments and parliaments of the Member States.

(1) Texts Adopted, Item 11.
(2) Texts Adopted, Item 19.
(3) Texts Adopted, Item 4.
(4) Texts Adopted, Item 12.

Last updated: 16 May 2004Legal notice