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The European Council held a special meeting on 15 and 16 October 1999 in Tampere on the creation of an area of freedom, security and justice in the European Union. At the start of proceedings an exchange of views was conducted with the President of the European Parliament, Mrs Nicole Fontaine, on the main topics of discussion.

The European Council is determined to develop the Union as an area of freedom, security and justice by making full use of the possibilities offered by the Treaty of Amsterdam. The European Council sends a strong political message to reaffirm the importance of this objective and has agreed on a number of policy orientations and priorities which will speedily make this area a reality.

The European Council will place and maintain this objective at the very top of the political agenda. It will keep under constant review progress made towards implementing the necessary measures and meeting the deadlines set by the Treaty of Amsterdam, the Vienna Action Plan and the present conclusions. The Commission is invited to make a proposal for an appropriate scoreboard to that end. The European Council underlines the importance of ensuring the necessary transparency and of keeping the European Parliament regularly informed. It will hold a full debate assessing progress at its December meeting in 2001.

In close connection with the area of freedom, security and justice, the European Council has agreed on the composition, method of work and practical arrangements (attached in the annex) for the body entrusted with drawing up a draft Charter of fundamental rights of the European Union. It invites all parties involved to ensure that work on the Charter can begin rapidly.

The European Council expresses its gratitude for the work of the outgoing Secretary-General of the Council, Mr. Jürgen Trumpf, and in particular for his contribution to the development of the Union following the entry into force of the Treaty of Amsterdam.

Given that one of the focal points of the Union's work in the years ahead will be to strengthen the common foreign and security policy, including developing a European security and defence policy, the European Council expects the new Secretary-General of the Council and High Representative for the CFSP, Mr. Javier Solana, to make a key contribution to this objective. Mr. Solana will be able to rely on the full backing of the European Council in exercising his powers according to Article 18(3) of the Treaty so he can do full justice to his tasks. His responsibilities will include co-operating with the Presidency to ensure that deliberations and action in foreign and security policy matters are efficiently conducted with the aim of fostering continuity and consistency of policy on the basis of the common interests of the Union.

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1. From its very beginning European integration has been firmly rooted in a shared commitment to freedom based on human rights, democratic institutions and the rule of law. These common values have proved necessary for securing peace and developing prosperity in the European Union. They will also serve as a cornerstone for the enlarging Union.

2. The European Union has already put in place for its citizens the major ingredients of a shared area of prosperity and peace: a single market, economic and monetary union, and the capacity to take on global political and economic challenges. The challenge of the Amsterdam Treaty is now to ensure that freedom, which includes the right to move freely throughout the Union, can be enjoyed in conditions of security and justice accessible to all. It is a project which responds to the frequently expressed concerns of citizens and has a direct bearing on their daily lives.

3. This freedom should not, however, be regarded as the exclusive preserve of the Union’s own citizens. Its very existence acts as a draw to many others world-wide who cannot enjoy the freedom Union citizens take for granted. It would be in contradiction with Europe’s traditions to deny such freedom to those whose circumstances lead them justifiably to seek access to our territory. This in turn requires the Union to develop common policies on asylum and immigration, while taking into account the need for a consistent control of external borders to stop illegal immigration and to combat those who organise it and commit related international crimes. These common policies must be based on principles which are both clear to our own citizens and also offer guarantees to those who seek protection in or access to the European Union.

4. The aim is an open and secure European Union, fully committed to the obligations of the Geneva Refugee Convention and other relevant human rights instruments, and able to respond to humanitarian needs on the basis of solidarity. A common approach must also be developed to ensure the integration into our societies of those third country nationals who are lawfully resident in the Union.

5. The enjoyment of freedom requires a genuine area of justice, where people can approach courts and authorities in any Member State as easily as in their own. Criminals must find no ways of exploiting differences in the judicial systems of Member States. Judgements and decisions should be respected and enforced throughout the Union, while safeguarding the basic legal certainty of people and economic operators. Better compatibility and more convergence between the legal systems of Member States must be achieved.

6. People have the right to expect the Union to address the threat to their freedom and legal rights posed by serious crime. To counter these threats a common effort is needed to prevent and fight crime and criminal organisations throughout the Union. The joint mobilisation of police and judicial resources is needed to guarantee that there is no hiding place for criminals or the proceeds of crime within the Union.

7. The area of freedom, security and justice should be based on the principles of transparency and democratic control. We must develop an open dialogue with civil society on the aims and principles of this area in order to strengthen citizens’ acceptance and support. In order to maintain confidence in authorities, common standards on the integrity of authorities should be developed.

8. The European Council considers it essential that in these areas the Union should also develop a capacity to act and be regarded as a significant partner on the international scene. This requires close co-operation with partner countries and international organisations, in particular the Council of Europe, OSCE, OECD and the United Nations.

9. The European Council invites the Council and the Commission, in close co-operation with the European Parliament, to promote the full and immediate implementation of the Treaty of Amsterdam on the basis of the Vienna Action Plan and of the following political guidelines and concrete objectives agreed here in Tampere.

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10. The separate but closely related issues of asylum and migration call for the development of a common EU policy to include the following elements.

I. Partnership with countries of origin

11. The European Union needs a comprehensive approach to migration addressing political, human rights and development issues in countries and regions of origin and transit. This requires combating poverty, improving living conditions and job opportunities, preventing conflicts and consolidating democratic states and ensuring respect for human rights, in particular rights of minorities, women and children. To that end, the Union as well as Member States are invited to contribute, within their respective competence under the Treaties, to a greater coherence of internal and external policies of the Union. Partnership with third countries concerned will also be a key element for the success of such a policy, with a view to promoting co-development.

12. In this context, the European Council welcomes the report of the High Level Working Group on Asylum and Migration set up by the Council, and agrees on the continuation of its mandate and on the drawing up of further Action Plans. It considers as a useful contribution the first action plans drawn up by that Working Group, and approved by the Council, and invites the Council and the Commission to report back on their implementation to the European Council in December 2000.

II. A Common European Asylum System

13. The European Council reaffirms the importance the Union and Member States attach to absolute respect of the right to seek asylum. It has agreed to work towards establishing a Common European Asylum System, based on the full and inclusive application of the Geneva Convention, thus ensuring that nobody is sent back to persecution, i.e. maintaining the principle of non-refoulement.

14. This System should include, in the short term, a clear and workable determination of the State responsible for the examination of an asylum application, common standards for a fair and efficient asylum procedure, common minimum conditions of reception of asylum seekers, and the approximation of rules on the recognition and content of the refugee status. It should also be completed with measures on subsidiary forms of protection offering an appropriate status to any person in need of such protection. To that end, the Council is urged to adopt, on the basis of Commission proposals, the necessary decisions according to the timetable set in the Treaty of Amsterdam and the Vienna Action Plan. The European Council stresses the importance of consulting UNHCR and other international organisations.

15. In the longer term, Community rules should lead to a common asylum procedure and a uniform status for those who are granted asylum valid throughout the Union. The Commission is asked to prepare within one year a communication on this matter.

16. The European Council urges the Council to step up its efforts to reach agreement on the issue of temporary protection for displaced persons on the basis of solidarity between Member States. The European Council believes that consideration should be given to making some form of financial reserve available in situations of mass influx of refugees for temporary protection. The Commission is invited to explore the possibilities for this.

17. The European Council urges the Council to finalise promptly its work on the system for the identification of asylum seekers (Eurodac).

III. Fair treatment of third country nationals

18. The European Union must ensure fair treatment of third country nationals who reside legally on the territory of its Member States. A more vigorous integration policy should aim at granting them rights and obligations comparable to those of EU citizens. It should also enhance non-discrimination in economic, social and cultural life and develop measures against racism and xenophobia.

19. Building on the Commission Communication on an Action Plan against Racism, the European Council calls for the fight against racism and xenophobia to be stepped up. The Member States will draw on best practices and experiences. Co-operation with the European Monitoring Centre on Racism and Xenophobia and the Council of Europe will be further strengthened. Moreover, the Commission is invited to come forward as soon as possible with proposals implementing Article 13 of the EC Treaty on the fight against racism and xenophobia. To fight against discrimination more generally the Member States are encouraged to draw up national programmes.

20. The European Council acknowledges the need for approximation of national legislations on the conditions for admission and residence of third country nationals, based on a shared assessment of the economic and demographic developments within the Union, as well as the situation in the countries of origin. It requests to this end rapid decisions by the Council, on the basis of proposals by the Commission. These decisions should take into account not only the reception capacity of each Member State, but also their historical and cultural links with the countries of origin.

21. The legal status of third country nationals should be approximated to that of Member States' nationals. A person, who has resided legally in a Member State for a period of time to be determined and who holds a long-term residence permit, should be granted in that Member State a set of uniform rights which are as near as possible to those enjoyed by EU citizens; e.g. the right to reside, receive education, and work as an employee or self-employed person, as well as the principle of non-discrimination vis-à-vis the citizens of the State of residence. The European Council endorses the objective that long-term legally resident third country nationals be offered the opportunity to obtain the nationality of the Member State in which they are resident.

IV. Management of migration flows

22. The European Council stresses the need for more efficient management of migration flows at all their stages. It calls for the development, in close co-operation with countries of origin and transit, of information campaigns on the actual possibilities for legal immigration, and for the prevention of all forms of trafficking in human beings. A common active policy on visas and false documents should be further developed, including closer co-operation between EU consulates in third countries and, where necessary, the establishment of common EU visa issuing offices.

23. The European Council is determined to tackle at its source illegal immigration, especially by combating those who engage in trafficking in human beings and economic exploitation of migrants. It urges the adoption of legislation foreseeing severe sanctions against this serious crime. The Council is invited to adopt by the end of 2000, on the basis of a proposal by the Commission, legislation to this end. Member States, together with Europol, should direct their efforts to detecting and dismantling the criminal networks involved. The rights of the victims of such activities shall be secured with special emphasis on the problems of women and children.

24. The European Council calls for closer co-operation and mutual technical assistance between the Member States' border control services, such as exchange programmes and technology transfer, especially on maritime borders, and for the rapid inclusion of the applicant States in this co-operation. In this context, the Council welcomes the memorandum of understanding between Italy and Greece to enhance co-operation between the two countries in the Adriatic and Ionian seas in combating organised crime, smuggling and trafficking of persons.

25. As a consequence of the integration of the Schengen acquis into the Union, the candidate countries must accept in full that acquis and further measures building upon it. The European Council stresses the importance of the effective control of the Union's future external borders by specialised trained professionals.

26. The European Council calls for assistance to countries of origin and transit to be developed in order to promote voluntary return as well as to help the authorities of those countries to strengthen their ability to combat effectively trafficking in human beings and to cope with their readmission obligations towards the Union and the Member States.

27. The Amsterdam Treaty conferred powers on the Community in the field of readmission. The European Council invites the Council to conclude readmission agreements or to include standard clauses in other agreements between the European Community and relevant third countries or groups of countries . Consideration should also be given to rules on internal readmission.

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28. In a genuine European Area of Justice individuals and businesses should not be prevented or discouraged from exercising their rights by the incompatibility or complexity of legal and administrative systems in the Member States.

V. Better access to justice in Europe

29. In order to facilitate access to justice the European Council invites the Commission, in co-operation with other relevant fora, such as the Council of Europe, to launch an information campaign and to publish appropriate "user guides" on judicial co-operation within the Union and on the legal systems of the Member States. It also calls for the establishment of an easily accessible information system to be maintained and up-dated by a network of competent national authorities.

30. The European Council invites the Council, on the basis of proposals by the Commission, to establish minimum standards ensuring an adequate level of legal aid in cross-border cases throughout the Union as well as special common procedural rules for simplified and accelerated cross-border litigation on small consumer and commercial claims, as well as maintenance claims, and on uncontested claims. Alternative, extra-judicial procedures should also be created by Member States.

31. Common minimum standards should be set for multilingual forms or documents to be used in cross-border court cases throughout the Union. Such documents or forms should then be accepted mutually as valid documents in all legal proceedings in the Union.

32. Having regard to the Commission's communication , minimum standards should be drawn up on the protection of the victims of crime, in particular on crime victims’ access to justice and on their rights to compensation for damages, including legal costs. In addition, national programmes should be set up to finance measures, public and non-governmental, for assistance to and protection of victims.

VI. Mutual recognition of judicial decisions

33. Enhanced mutual recognition of judicial decisions and judgements and the necessary approximation of legislation would facilitate co-operation between authorities and the judicial protection of individual rights. The European Council therefore endorses the principle of mutual recognition which, in its view, should become the cornerstone of judicial co-operation in both civil and criminal matters within the Union. The principle should apply both to judgements and to other decisions of judicial authorities.

34. In civil matters the European Council calls upon the Commission to make a proposal for further reduction of the intermediate measures which are still required to enable the recognition and enforcement of a decision or judgement in the requested State. As a first step these intermediate procedures should be abolished for titles in respect of small consumer or commercial claims and for certain judgements in the field of family litigation (e.g. on maintenance claims and visiting rights). Such decisions would be automatically recognised throughout the Union without any intermediate proceedings or grounds for refusal of enforcement. This could be accompanied by the setting of minimum standards on specific aspects of civil procedural law.

35. With respect to criminal matters, the European Council urges Member States to speedily ratify the 1995 and 1996 EU Conventions on extradition. It considers that the formal extradition procedure should be abolished among the Member States as far as persons are concerned who are fleeing from justice after having been finally sentenced, and replaced by a simple transfer of such persons, in compliance with Article 6 TEU. Consideration should also be given to fast track extradition procedures, without prejudice to the principle of fair trial. The European Council invites the Commission to make proposals on this matter in the light of the Schengen Implementing Agreement.

36. The principle of mutual recognition should also apply to pre-trial orders, in particular to those which would enable competent authorities quickly to secure evidence and to seize assets which are easily movable; evidence lawfully gathered by one Member State’s authorities should be admissible before the courts of other Member States, taking into account the standards that apply there.

37. The European Council asks the Council and the Commission to adopt, by December 2000, a programme of measures to implement the principle of mutual recognition. In this programme, work should also be launched on a European Enforcement Order and on those aspects of procedural law on which common minimum standards are considered necessary in order to facilitate the application of the principle of mutual recognition, respecting the fundamental legal principles of Member States.

VII. Greater convergence in civil law

38. The European Council invites the Council and the Commission to prepare new procedural legislation in cross-border cases, in particular on those elements which are instrumental to smooth judicial co-operation and to enhanced access to law, e.g. provisional measures, taking of evidence, orders for money payment and time limits.

39. As regards substantive law, an overall study is requested on the need to approximate Member States’ legislation in civil matters in order to eliminate obstacles to the good functioning of civil proceedings. The Council should report back by 2001.

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40. The European Council is deeply committed to reinforcing the fight against serious organised and transnational crime. The high level of safety in the area of freedom, security and justice presupposes an efficient and comprehensive approach in the fight against all forms of crime. A balanced development of unionwide measures against crime should be achieved while protecting the freedom and legal rights of individuals and economic operators.

VIII. Preventing crime at the level of the Union

41. The European Council calls for the integration of crime prevention aspects into actions against crime as well as for the further development of national crime prevention programmes. Common priorities should be developed and identified in crime prevention in the external and internal policy of the Union and be taken into account when preparing new legislation.

42. The exchange of best practices should be developed, the network of competent national authorities for crime prevention and co-operation between national crime prevention organisations should be strengthened and the possibility of a Community funded programme should be explored for these purposes. The first priorities for this co-operation could be juvenile, urban and drug-related crime.

IX. Stepping up co-operation against crime

43. Maximum benefit should be derived from co-operation between Member States' authorities when investigating cross-border crime in any Member State. The European Council calls for joint investigative teams as foreseen in the Treaty to be set up without delay, as a first step, to combat trafficking in drugs and human beings as well as terrorism. The rules to be set up in this respect should allow representatives of Europol to participate, as appropriate, in such teams in a support capacity.

44. The European Council calls for the establishment of a European Police Chiefs operational Task Force to exchange , in co-operation with Europol , experience, best practices and information on current trends in cross-border crime and contribute to the planning of operative actions.

45. Europol has a key role in supporting unionwide crime prevention, analyses and investigation. The European Council calls on the Council to provide Europol with the necessary support and resources. In the near future its role should be strengthened by means of receiving operational data from Member States and authorising it to ask Member States to initiate, conduct or coordinate investigations or to create joint investigative teams in certain areas of crime, while respecting systems of judicial control in Member States.

46. To reinforce the fight against serious organised crime, the European Council has agreed that a unit (EUROJUST) should be set up composed of national prosecutors, magistrates, or police officers of equivalent competence, detached from each Member State according to its legal system. EUROJUST should have the task of facilitating the proper coordination of national prosecuting authorities and of supporting criminal investigations in organised crime cases, notably based on Europol's analysis, as well as of co-operating closely with the European Judicial Network, in particular in order to simplify the execution of letters rogatory. The European Council requests the Council to adopt the necessary legal instrument by the end of 2001.

47. A European Police College for the training of senior law enforcement officials should be established. It should start as a network of existing national training institutes. It should also be open to the authorities of candidate countries.

48. Without prejudice to the broader areas envisaged in the Treaty of Amsterdam and in the Vienna Action Plan, the European Council considers that, with regard to national criminal law, efforts to agree on common definitions, incriminations and sanctions should be focused in the first instance on a limited number of sectors of particular relevance, such as financial crime (money laundering, corruption, Euro counterfeiting), drugs trafficking, trafficking in human beings, particularly exploitation of women, sexual exploitation of children, high tech crime and environmental crime.

49. Serious economic crime increasingly has tax and duty aspects. The European Council therefore calls upon Member States to provide full mutual legal assistance in the investigation and prosecution of serious economic crime.

50.The European Council underlines the importance of addressing the drugs problem in a comprehensive manner. It calls on the Council to adopt the 2000-2004 European Strategy against Drugs before the European Council meeting in Helsinki.

X. Special action against money laundering

51. Money laundering is at the very heart of organised crime. It should be rooted out wherever it occurs. The European Council is determined to ensure that concrete steps are taken to trace, freeze, seize and confiscate the proceeds of crime.

52. Member States are urged to implement fully the provisions of the Money Laundering Directive, the 1990 Strasbourg Convention and the Financial Action Task Force recommendations also in all their dependent territories.

53. The European Council calls for the Council and the European Parliament to adopt as soon as possible the draft revised directive on money laundering recently proposed by the Commission.

54. With due regard to data protection, the transparency of financial transactions and ownership of corporate entities should be improved and the exchange of information between the existing financial intelligence units (FIU) regarding suspicious transactions expedited. Regardless of secrecy provisions applicable to banking and other commercial activity, judicial authorities as well as FIUs must be entitled, subject to judicial control, to receive information when such information is necessary to investigate money laundering. The European Council calls on the Council to adopt the necessary provisions to this end.

55. The European Council calls for the approximation of criminal law and procedures on money laundering (e.g. tracing, freezing and confiscating funds). The scope of criminal activities which constitute predicate offences for money laundering should be uniform and sufficiently broad in all Member States.

56. The European Council invites the Council to extend the competence of Europol to money laundering in general, regardless of the type of offence from which the laundered proceeds originate.

57. Common standards should be developed in order to prevent the use of corporations and entities registered outside the jurisdiction of the Union in the hiding of criminal proceeds and in money laundering. The Union and Member States should make arrangements with third country offshore-centres to ensure efficient and transparent co-operation in mutual legal assistance following the recommendations made in this area by the Financial Action Task Force.

58. The Commission is invited to draw up a report identifying provisions in national banking, financial and corporate legislation which obstruct international co-operation. The Council is invited to draw necessary conclusions on the basis of this report.

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59. The European Council underlines that all competences and instruments at the disposal of the Union, and in particular, in external relations must be used in an integrated and consistent way to build the area of freedom, security and justice. Justice and Home Affairs concerns must be integrated in the definition and implementation of other Union policies and activities.

60. Full use must be made of the new possibilities offered by the Treaty of Amsterdam for external action and in particular of Common Strategies as well as Community agreements and agreements based on Article 38 TEU.

61. Clear priorities, policy objectives and measures for the Union’s external action in Justice and Home Affairs should be defined. Specific recommendations should be drawn up by the Council in close co-operation with the Commission on policy objectives and measures for the Union’s external action in Justice and Home Affairs, including questions of working structure, prior to the European Council in June 2000.

62. The European Council expresses its support for regional co-operation against organised crime involving the Member States and third countries bordering on the Union. In this context it notes with satisfaction the concrete and practical results obtained by the surrounding countries in the Baltic Sea region. The European Council attaches particular importance to regional co-operation and development in the Balkan region. The European Union welcomes and intends to participate in a European Conference on Development and Security in the Adriatic and Ionian area, to be organised by the Italian Government in Italy in the first half of the year 2000. This initiative will provide valuable support in the context of the South Eastern Europe Stability Pact.

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  • Members
    • Heads of State or Government of Member States
      Fifteen representatives of the Heads of State or Government of Member States.
    • Commission
      One representative of the President of the European Commission.
    • European Parliament
      Sixteen members of the European Parliament to be designated by itself.
    • National Parliaments
      Thirty members of national Parliaments (two from each national Parliament) to be designated by national Parliaments themselves.
      Members of the Body may be replaced by alternates in the event of being unable to attend meetings of the Body.
  • Chairperson and Vice-Chairpersons of the Body
    The Chairperson of the Body shall be elected by the Body. A member of the European Parliament, a member of a national Parliament, and the representative of the President of the European Council if not elected to the Chair, shall act as Vice-Chairpersons of the Body.
    The member of the European Parliament acting as Vice-Chairperson shall be elected by the members of the European Parliament serving on the Body. The member of a national Parliament acting as Vice-Chairperson shall be elected by the members of national Parliaments serving on the Body.
  • Observers
    Two representatives of the Court of Justice of the European Communities to be designated by the Court.
    Two representatives of the Council of Europe, including one from the European Court of Human Rights.
  • Bodies of the European Union to be invited to give their views
    The Economic and Social Committee
    The Committee of the Regions
    The Ombudsman
  • Exchange of views with the applicant States
    An appropriate exchange of views should be held by the Body or by the Chairperson with the applicant States.
  • Other bodies, social groups or experts to be invited to give their views
    Other bodies, social groups and experts may be invited by the Body to give their views.
  • Secretariat
    The General Secretariat of the Council shall provide the Body with secretariat services. To ensure proper coordination, close contacts will be established with the General Secretariat of the European Parliament, with the Commission and, to the extent necessary, with the secretariats of the national Parliaments.
  • Preparation
    The Chairperson of the Body shall, in close concertation with the Vice-Chairpersons, propose a work plan for the Body and perform other appropriate preparatory work.
  • Transparency of the proceedings
    In principle, hearings held by the Body and documents submitted at such hearings should be public.
  • Working groups
    The Body may establish ad hoc working groups, which shall be open to all members of the Body.
  • Drafting
    On the basis of the work plan agreed by the Body, a Drafting Committee composed of the Chairperson, the Vice-Chairpersons and the representative of the Commission and assisted by the General Secretariat of the Council, shall elaborate a preliminary Draft Charter, taking account of drafting proposals submitted by any member of the Body.
    Each of the three Vice-Chairpersons shall regularly consult with the respective component part of the Body from which he or she emanates.
  • Elaboration of the Draft Charter by the Body
    When the Chairperson, in close concertation with the Vice-Chairpersons, deems that the text of the draft Charter elaborated by the Body can eventually be subscribed to by all the parties, it shall be forwarded to the European Council through the normal preparatory procedure.
The Body shall hold its meetings in Brussels, alternately in the Council and the European Parliament buildings.
A complete language regime shall be applicable for sessions of the Body.

© European Parliament: 1999