PDFs: ES, DA,
The project of European construction, begun in
the aftermath of the war, which shattered our continent, has
led a succession of countries to join it of their own free will
and consent. The magnetism of our model of integration has been
such that, for most of its life, the European Community, now
the European Union, has been in the process of expansion.
In 1993 the Copenhagen European Council made the
historic promise that "the countries in Central and Eastern
Europe that so desire shall become members of the Union. Accession
will take place as soon as a country is able to assume the obligations
of membership by satisfying the economic and political conditions".
That political declaration, made at the highest level, was a
solemn promise that will be honoured.
Thirteen countries have now applied to join,
and others can be expected to present, or renew, their applications
for membership in the coming years.
The enlargement of the EU now under way on the
basis of the Luxembourg (1997) and Helsinki (1999) European
Council decisions has an unprecedented political, historical
and moral dimension. This is more than just an enlargement.
It means, in fact, bringing our continent together. We are moving
from division to unity, from a propensity for conflict to stability,
and from economic inequality to better life-chances in the different
parts of Europe.
1. The benefits of enlargement
This enlargement will change the face of Europe
and will affect all Community institutions and areas of policy.
The two underlying strategic aims - projecting political stability
and strengthening Europe as an economic power - look set to
The benefits of enlargement are already visible.
Stable democracies have emerged in Central and Eastern Europe.
Systemically, they are already so robust that there need be
no risk of a relapse into authoritarianism. The credit for this
success belongs mainly to the people of those countries themselves.
They alone took the decision to follow the difficult path and
build open societies, modern democracies and functioning market
economies. The speed with which they have accomplished this
is a tribute to their own political farsightedness and their
But undoubtedly the process was helped and encouraged
by the prospect of European integration. The direction of political
and economic reforms and the determination with which they are
being pursued reflect the need to meet the EU membership criteria
laid down by the Copenhagen European Council in 1993.
Events have amply validated these criteria. The
political stability in the Central and East European candidate
countries is rooted in common European values - democracy, the
rule of law, respect for human rights and the protection of
minorities - and that is precisely why it is set to last. The
immediate effects are a dramatic improvement in the security
situation in Europe and the opening up of a huge potential for
economic development. The analysis of progress in individual
countries shows that reforms pay off. In several cases the extent
of structural change in the economy is already producing rapid
growth from new, healthy roots. It looks as though enlargement
is that rare thing, a win-win process.
Both the existing EU Member States and the prospective
members benefit equally from political stability. Outbreaks
of trouble become less likely, causes of conflict, such as minority
issues and border problems, are removed, and integration removes
the potential for conflict. A stable political framework is
a precondition not simply for lasting peace and neighbourly
co-existence, but for economic vigour. We are seeing the signs
of that too, accompanied by healthy growth prospects for the
This means an opportunity for the candidate countries
to increase their living standards and improve their prospects
in global competition. The advantages for the Member States
are already tangible. They run considerable surpluses on their
export trade with the candidate countries, and these translate
into more jobs, more tax revenue and more money for social security
2. A stronger Europe
The enlargement of the Union will strengthen
its ability to confront the challenges of the new century. Past
experience has shown that successive enlargements have brought
not only new members, but new political and economic dynamism:
widening has gone hand in hand with deepening. The present round
of enlargement brings in countries that wish to contribute full-heartedly
to the European project, and will help to shape the institutions
and governance of the future Europe.
This Europe will be in an historically unique
position to pursue even better the projects on which the present
Union is engaged: the Euro, the development of Europe's common
foreign and security policy, the completion of the area of security,
liberty and justice for Europe's citizens. The future members,
already exposed to the challenge of globalisation, will help
us to surmount it.
The inclusion of these countries in the Union,
with their acceptance of its rules and policies, will improve
our capacity to safeguard Europe's environment, to combat crime,
to improve social conditions, and to manage migratory pressures.
Without their membership, we would be less capable to solve
So the political and economic facts explain the
benefits of the enlargement project, but they do not tell the
whole story. The less tangible moral and psychological factors
are also important. This is a question of credibility and setting
3. A strategy for progress
The complex negotiating process, coupled with
the difficult preparation for membership, gives rise to uncertainty
on the part of the candidate countries about the progress of
enlargement. This makes it essential for the EU to project a
steady and unambiguous commitment to enlargement. The candidate
countries' reactions are understandable and need to be taken
seriously. This becomes particularly clear in discussions on
the culmination of the process, in other words on setting firm
The EU has rightly avoided setting a rigid timetable.
There is more to readiness for membership than the completion
of negotiations; the entry criteria have to be fulfilled, and
that means a sustained effort of reform that often depends on
domestic political and economic circumstances and therefore
cannot be worked out in advance.
However, it should now become easier to estimate
the timing, as the negotiations advance, and the individual
countries make further progress in their preparation for accession.
The negotiations are about to enter a much harder
and more intensive stage. Before embarking on this we need further
improvements to the political framework, in other words we need
to create a favourable climate for negotiations.
The most important element here is to respect
commitments made. The Helsinki European Council (1999) stated
that the Union will take decisions on the necessary institutional
reforms by the end of 2000 so as to be able to welcome new members
as from the end of 2002. It is crucial to the credibility of
the EU's enlargement policy that we keep to this timetable and
do not impose any new conditions for membership. With its decisions
on Agenda 2000, and the success of the current intergovernmental
conference at the next European Council in Nice, the EU will
have fulfilled the necessary conditions. The subsequent continuation
of the reform process will not alter this fact, for enlargement
should not be conditional on its results.
The second crucial element is the recognisable
political will to press ahead and resolve a number of difficult
outstanding issues in the negotiating process, and thus to move
on to a more substantive stage of the talks.
These are the considerations underlying the Commission's
recommendations for the future strategy of the enlargement process.
Even if no date has yet been fixed for the finalisation
of the process, there is nevertheless time pressure. We must
not delude ourselves that the EU has endless time to complete
its enlargement project. There is a window of opportunity open
now and it needs to be seized.
Over the last ten years society in the candidate
countries of Central and Eastern Europe has been placed under
enormous strain. These societies have had to make the transition
from communist rule and centrally planned economies to democracy
and the market, while at the same time gearing themselves up
to the sophisticated machinery of European integration. The
resultant social stresses cannot be ignored. It is perfectly
understandable that people now want to see the light at the
end of the tunnel. The appetite for further efforts and reforms
might well diminish if these countries start to feel the goal
of EU membership will never be in reach. To prevent a possible
surge of doubt and frustration, determination and leadership
is needed from the EU.
4. The need for information
An enlargement project on the scale of the one
we have embarked on requires a communications strategy spread
over a number of years to keep citizens of the EU and the candidate
countries informed, ensure their participation in the process
and finally win their support for it. This goes beyond satisfying
the right of the people concerned to be correctly informed of
what enlargement will mean for them. It is the democratic legitimisation
of the process itself.
Enlargement can only succeed if it is a social
project involving all citizens and not just an elite. Only genuine
participation can achieve this. Information is not enough. We
have to set in motion a wide-ranging dialogue in our societies
to make the risks and benefits clear to people and let them
know that their concerns are being taken seriously.
Surveys in the Member States and candidate countries
(which should in general be treated with some caution, however)
give a varying picture. There are generally majorities in the
candidate countries in favour of accession to the EU, and the
number of people in favour outnumbers opponents in the Member
States as well. But there are significant regional differences,
and judgements vary on the individual candidate countries. In
contrast to the candidate countries, enlargement is not seen
as a priority by public opinion in the Member States, apart
from a few exceptions. An effective communication strategy will
not be limited to emphasising the objective political and economic
benefits of enlargement; rather it should seek, via an interactive
process, to allay people's concerns and fears.
These concerns and fears are well known. In the
candidate countries they arise from the economic and social
changes involved. The conversion of whole systems is still under
way in Central and Eastern Europe. Such conversion entails radical
changes in the life of each individual, with costs as well as
benefits. Uncertainty and fear of the future are the natural
consequences. The question of sovereignty and national and cultural
identity also plays an important role. For peoples who have
only recently regained freedom and self-determination, membership
of the EU can appear to be a loss of sovereignty, whereas the
experience of those countries involved in European integration
is that it augments their capacity to influence events. Of course
there are Eurosceptics and even people hostile to Europe in
the candidate countries who are ready to blame all the problems
of systemic change on Brussels and exploit concerns about loss
of identity for their own populist ends.
Concerns in the Member States focus on fears about
possible negative impact of enlargement - uncontrollable immigration,
unfair competition, particularly for jobs, imported crime, environmental
dumping and financial burdens. Another identifiable concern
is that the EU might be incapable after an enlargement on such
a scale of properly achieving its objectives.
In particular, the people in the regions bordering
the candidate countries need to be reassured of the positive
effects of enlargement. In order to address fears, the Commission
will over the next few months prepare an objective analysis
of the situation in border regions and examine how the existing
instruments on the Community level reply to such concerns. On
the basis of this analysis, the Commission will examine how
to optimize existing instruments and how to ensure better co-ordination.
The communication strategy will be credible only
if the results of the negotiations show that the perceived risks
either do not exist or can be overcome. In this respect, gaining
acceptance is part of the negotiation process.
The Commission saw the need for a communications
strategy that deals with these issues seriously as soon as it
took office; it immediately set to work putting in place the
financial and organisational conditions necessary to implement
such a strategy. It is guided by the following principles:
- Decentralisation. The strategy is developed and
implemented in the candidate countries and the Member States
in a decentralised manner. It is geared to the specific
needs and conditions of the individual countries.
- Flexibility. Enlargement is a highly dynamic
process with effects on public opinion in individual countries
that are difficult to gauge. So the strategy must react
to changes of mood and to new issues that arise, and this
means reviewing the contents of programmes year by year.
- Synergy. What the Commission does must only complement
in a sensible way the efforts of the countries themselves.
This is why there has to be close and ongoing co-ordination
with what is being done by governments, parliaments and
groups in society at large. Close co-ordination is likewise
needed with the expected activities of the European Parliament.
How to go about this? The means available generally
do not allow us to rely on the instruments of mass communication.
We should rather seek a multiplier effect by focusing on opinion
makers and groups with influence in society, such as political
parties, churches, trade unions, trade associations, women's
and youth organisations, NGOs and existing European networks.
Journalists and the media are a vital link in the chain of information
and communication. Nor should we forget schools and establishments
of higher education, which should be given the means to deal
with the topic of enlargement. It is also important to promote
direct meetings and frequent exchanges between the peoples of
the Member States and the candidate countries.
This approach can succeed only if the political,
economic and cultural groups step forward to act as mediators
and engage in dialogue. So motivating and encouraging these
groups will also be part of the strategy. In short, we want
to bring about a wide-ranging public debate which is informed
by the facts and their implications.
5. The enlargement process and neighbouring
Enlargement will bring benefits of enhanced security,
stability and prosperity not only to the Union but to the wider
international community, including the EU's major trading partners.
Enlargement will increase the size of the single market where
traders and investors will only have to deal with a common external
tariff, and a common set of rules and procedures. A wider European
Union will stimulate growth and create new investment and trading
opportunities, and it will place the Union in a better position
to contribute to international efforts to address such cross-cutting
issues as migration, environmental pollution, illegal trafficking
and organised crime.
Over the past year the neighbouring countries
of the future enlarged Union have paid increasing attention
to the implications that enlargement will have on them. The
EU needs to explain these benefits to its neighbours and to
discuss the impact of enlargement so that both they and the
Union take full advantage of the new opportunities. Some issues
will need sensitive handling. Enlargement negotiations are a
matter for the Union and each candidate and do not provide a
role for any third party. The Commission is nevertheless ready
to provide detailed explanations of the changes which will take
place in the run up to enlargement.
For enlargement to proceed smoothly, the EU must
continue to develop deep, multi-faceted relationships with its
immediate neighbours. The Partnership and Association arrangements
which the EU has entered into with its neighbours seek to create
conditions for political stability and economic growth to ensure
that the future borders of the Union do not create new dividing
lines in Europe.
a) Western Balkans
At its meeting in Santa Maria da Feira in June
2000 the European Council agreed that all of the countries in
the region are "potential candidates" of the Union.
This perspective should help each country to accelerate the
pace of reform and to begin to align its laws and structures
with those in the European Union. In many areas, experience
gained in the pre-accession process with the candidate countries
will be useful in transferring expertise and know-how to the
Western Balkan countries.
The Stabilisation and Association Process,
which is the framework for the EU's policy in the Western Balkans,
is now better understood in the region and is seen as the "road
to Europe". It provides for political dialogue, far-reaching
trade liberalisation, important financial assistance and close
co-operation in many spheres of economic and social life. This
framework allows each country to move at its own pace, with
technical and financial support from the Union.
Negotiations for a Stabilisation and Association
Agreement with the FYROM are nearing completion. The
Commission has also proposed to open negotiations with Croatia
in recognition of the commitment to democratic values demonstrated
by the new leadership since the elections there in January 2000,
and the far-reaching structural reforms being introduced. The
government in Albania is working closely with the Commission
to introduce the necessary preparatory reforms, in response
to the Commission's report on the feasibility of opening negotiations
there. With the backing of the wider international community
the Commission has set out measures which Bosnia Herzegovina
needs to introduce to create the conditions for negotiating
a Stabilisation and Association Agreement.
The people of Serbia have decided to end
their isolation and to return to the European mainstream. This
momentous decision will help to bring stability and prosperity
to the whole region. Work has now been initiated to examine
ways of progressing towards a Stabilisation and Association
Agreement with the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. Throughout
the past year the Union has also been active in providing political
and financial support to Montenegro to help it to maintain
its choice of democracy and reform. In Kosovo, the Union
has been the leading civilian donor in reconstruction, mainly
through the European Agency for Reconstruction. Through its
participation in the EU pillar of the UN administration, UNMIK,
it has also been helping to shape policy on the future economic
structures of the province.
b) To the East
Russia has expressed an interest in holding
discussions with the EU on the implications of enlargement.
Rather than creating a special group for this purpose, the Commission
proposes to use the institutions of the Partnership and Co-operation
Agreement. Technical discussions in areas such as trade and
energy can take place in the Co-operation Committee. Broader
discussions on enlargement issues are better suited to the Co-operation
Council, where they can take place at Ministerial level.
One Russian region that will be particularly affected
by enlargement is Kaliningrad. After the accession of
Poland and Lithuania, Kaliningrad will become a Russian enclave
within the EU. The Union needs to devise a strategy, in co-operation
with Russia, Poland and Lithuania, to ensure that Kaliningrad
can benefit from the greater prosperity that accession to the
EU will bring to its neighbours. Regional co-operation will
be an important element of that strategy.
Not least because of its geographical closeness
to the future enlarged Union, enlargement will have profound
implications for Ukraine. Here too the Partnership and
Co-operation bodies are the appropriate fora for both political
and technical discussions.
A widened Union will also have a stronger interest
- and be in a better position - to develop fuller relationships
across the whole continent, including the countries of the Caucasus.
c) To the South
The Mediterranean neighbours are moving closer
to the EU through the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership and the
conclusion of Association Agreements. The Commission has recently
made proposals to add new impetus to the Barcelona process and
hopes that these will be taken up by the Euro-Mediterranean
Ministerial meeting at Marseilles in November. With political
and economic reforms now higher on the agenda in several Mediterranean
countries there is a new opportunity to give full expression
to our deep historical ties with the region. We seek to develop
even closer political relations and to create an investment-friendly
climate, building on the economic and trade advantages offered
by the Association Agreements. The benefits of enlargement will
be felt by all the Mediterranean partners and the implications
of enlargement should be factored into future EU policies towards
In response to the requests of the European Councils
of Helsinki and Santa Maria da Feira, the Commission has drawn
up reports on the candidates' progress in preparing for accession,
observing the same approach as in 1998 and 1999. The European
Council in Santa Maria da Feira concluded: 'The European
Council at Nice will review progress on enlargement and consider
how to take forward the accession process.' The following describes
the stage reached in the pre-accession strategy (Part II), draws
together the analysis in each regular report (Part III) and
combines a short analysis of the stage reached in the negotiations
with recommendations on steps to take the accession process forward
II. The Pre-Accession
The pre-accession strategy consists of a combination
of priority setting coupled with financial assistance, Association
Agreements, participation in Community programmes and agencies
and preparation of the negotiations through analytical examination
of the acquis. It helps the candidate countries to prepare
for their future membership by aligning with the acquis
1. Priority setting
The Accession Partnerships are the central
pre-accession strategy instrument. The current Accession Partnerships
were adopted in December 1999 for candidate countries in Central
and Eastern Europe and in March 2000 for Cyprus and Malta. On
the basis of the Regular Reports they put forward the short
and medium-term priorities for each country to fulfil the accession
criteria. They also indicate the financial assistance available
from the Community in support of these priorities and the conditions
attached to that assistance.
The EU has not had to invoke the conditionality
clause of the Accession Partnership Regulation, which relates
to insufficient progress towards meeting the accession criteria
or failure to meet Association Agreement obligations. Each Regular
Report underlines achievements as well as shortcomings. Any
short-term priorities that have not been fully met remain applicable
and are closely monitored. The existing medium-term priorities
are confirmed by the conclusions of the current Regular Reports
and form the basis for programming assistance in 2001. The Commission,
therefore, does not consider it necessary to revise the Accession
Partnerships at this stage.
This year an Accession Partnership for Turkey
is proposed for the first time, in line with the Helsinki European
Council conclusions. In July 2000, the Commission proposed a
Regulation for a single framework for financial co-operation
with Turkey with a legal basis for the Accession Partnership.
In parallel to this paper, the Commission makes a proposal for
the Accession Partnership, setting out short and medium-term
priorities which Turkey should implement to progress towards
meeting the accession criteria.
In response to the Accession Partnership, ten
candidate countries have revised their national programme
for the adoption of the acquis (NPAA),which indicate
the humanand financial resources,and the timetable needed to
meet the accession priorities. Cyprus and Malta adopted NPAAs
for the first time in 2000 and Turkey is now preparing its national
programme. In some countries the NPAAs now form part of the
budgetary process. An assessment of the NPAA is included in
each Regular Report.
2. Financial assistance
Central and Eastern European candidate countries
have benefited from EC financial assistance since the beginning
of the transition process. From 2000, the Community has doubled
its pre-accession assistance to over 3 billion a year. The
PHARE programme is now accompanied by two new instruments, which
prepare for the Structural Funds. ISPA (Pre-Accession Structural
Instrument) allocates over 1 billion a year to investment
in environment and transport infrastructure, and SAPARD (Structural
Adjustment Programme for Agriculture and Rural Development)
allocates over 500 million a year to agricultural and rural
With an annual budget of 1.5 billion, the PHARE
programme co-finances institution building together with associated
investment in the infrastructure for the implementation of the
acquis and support for economic and social cohesion.
This concentrates resources on the main challenges facing
the candidatecountries, an approach confirmed in the Commission's
recent PHARE review. This review confirmed the importance of
PHARE as a bridge to the structural funds and of handing over
the implementation of PHARE to the candidates as soon as possible.
Around one third of PHARE is allocated to
Institution building whichstrengthens the candidates' capacity
to enforce and implement the acquis. TAIEX (Technical
Assistance Information Exchange Office) makes experts available
for short-term advice. Twinninginvolves the long-term secondment
of officials from Ministries, regional bodies, publicagencies
and professional organisations in the Member States to corresponding
bodies in the candidate countries, to promote the transfer of
technical and administrative know-how. 228 twinning projects
are operational with 150 pre-accession advisers already in place.
129 further projects are being initiated under PHARE 2000. The
list of twinning projects financed under PHARE in 1998-2000
is contained in Annex 4.
Twinning initially applied to agriculture, finance,
environment, and justice and home affairs and has now been extended
to all Accession Partnership priorities. Medium term twinning
will be introduced in 2001 to provide more flexibility. SIGMA
(Support for Improvement in Governance and Management in Central
and Eastern European countries) provides advice on horizontal
Another third of the PHARE budget co-finances
investment tohelp equip the candidate countries to implement
the acquis. The remaining third of the PHARE budget is
now being allocated to economic and social cohesion.
This helps develop the mechanisms and institutions necessary
to implement Structural Funds after accession, supported by
investment or grant schemes with a regional or sectoral focus.
SAPARD implementation will be fully
decentralised. The rural development plans of the beneficiary
countries are expected to be approved by the Commission before
the end of 2000. On the basis of the approved plans, SAPARD
will co-finance rural development projects selected by the countries.
The implementation structure for each country includes a SAPARD
Agency, responsible for management and payments, Before SAPARD
funds may be transferred to a country, the Agency needs to be
accredited by the competent authority of the relevant country
and the implementation structure must be approved by the Commission.
In all countries, the preparation of the accreditation of the
SAPARD agency is currently ongoing.
Under ISPA, each country has prepared
national strategies for transport and environment, and the Commission
has approved several projects. These concern i.a. waste water
treatment (at Bydgoszcz, Poland and at Gyφr, Hungary), waste
management (at Peatri Neamt, Romania), road rehabilitation (Corridor
IXB in Lithuania) and rail improvement (Bratislava-Senkvice
rail track). It is expected that the full allocation for the
year 2000 will be committed before the end of the year and that
an equal share between the two sectors will be attained.
The Commission and the candidates will ensure
the co-ordination of PHARE, SAPARD and ISPA.
Co-financing with the International Financial
Institutions (IFIs) is especially important for large-scale
infrastructure projects. The 1998 Memorandum of Understanding
between the Commission and the IFIs to enhance co-ordination
and co-financing with PHARE was revised in March 2000 to include
ISPA and SAPARD.
In 1998 and 1999, PHARE commitments in co-financed
projects amounted to 400 million. The European Investment
Bank's (EIB) loans in Central and Eastern Europe amounted to
2.173 billion in 1999. It has a loan potential of 16 billion
for 2000-2007 in these countries ( 8.68 billion with Community
budget guarantee, 8.5 billion in a pre-accession facility
without this guarantee).
The Council adopted a Regulation for both Cyprus
and Malta on pre-accession operations in March 2000.
It provides for a financial contribution of 95 million over
the period 2000-2004 towards meeting the priorities of the Accession
Partnerships. The budgetary allocation for 2000 is 6 million
for Malta and 9 million for Cyprus. These two countries are
eligible to the EIB pre-accession facility and to the 6.425
billion EIB facility for Mediterranean countries. EIB loans
to Cyprus amounted to 200 million in 1999.
Financial assistance to Turkey has been
doubled. From 2000 onwards the yearly allocation to Turkey has
been set at 15% of the MEDA bilateral envelope, in addition
to the 50 million annual average allocation foreseen in the
framework of the two 'European strategy/ pre-accession strategy
' regulations. These funds are available for structural reforms,
institution building and investment in the acquis, in
line with the approach for the other candidate countries. The
Commission will propose a new financial assistance regulation
in early 2001 to bring management and procedures closer to those
of the PHARE programme. This regulation will provide the legal
base for a single budget line, as set out in the Commission's
EU budget proposal for 2001, as requested by the European Council
of Santa Maria da Feira.
A proposal for a 450 million EIB loan has been
made by the Commission to strengthen the Customs Union. In addition,
Turkey is eligible for the 6.425 billion EIB facility for
Mediterranean countries and the Commission has recommended that
it becomes eligible for the EIB pre-accession facility. In 1999,
the EIB has agreed to a 600 million loan for reconstruction
after the earthquake.
3. The Association Agreements
The Europe Agreements (EAs) with the Central
and Eastern European candidate countries provide an essential
framework for monitoring the adoption of the acquis and
the implementation of Accession Partnership priorities. The
recently re-organised sub-committees provide a suitable forum
for this, making further meetings for the analytical examination
of the acquis unnecessary (see below).
Following an Association Council decision in
June 2000, the agreement with Hungary has entered its second
stage. This means further liberalisation as regards the
provisions on establishment. A similar decision regarding the
Czech Republic is expected shortly. The Commission is examining
requests for transition to the second stage by other associated
Negotiations for additional reciprocal trade
concessions in the field of agricultural products have
led to agreements with each of the ten Central and Eastern European
countries. These concessions entered into force on 1 July 2000
or will enter into force shortly on an autonomous basis, pending
the conclusion of additional Protocols to the EAs. They represent
a major step forward, further enhancing trade relations between
the parties. The proportion of bilateral agricultural trade
exempted from duty is likely to more than double, from 36% to
81% for EU imports and from 18% to 39% for EU exports. Further,
it was agreed with each of the ten countries to continue with
the negotiations in order to broaden the scope of the agricultural
bilateral trade concessions.
Framework agreements for a Protocol on European
Conformity Assessment (PECA) were initialled with the Czech
Republic and Hungary. Negotiations with Latvia and Estonia are
underway. The PECAs aim at extending internal market rules on
conformity assessment for manufactured goods to the candidate
countries before accession Under the PECAs, the candidate countries
will introduce the acquis for selected sectors. The EC
and the candidate country also agree to accept each other's
technical bodies for assessing the conformity of goods with
the legislation, making technical checks at border crossings
As regards Turkey, the Association Council
opened negotiations in April 2000 on an agreement aiming at
the liberalisation of services and at the mutual opening of
public procurement. The implementation of the Customs Union
remains the cornerstone of bilateral relations.
Participation in Community Programmes and Agencies
The participation of candidate countries in Community
programmes is a key feature of the pre-accession strategy. All
candidate countries in Central and Eastern Europe participate
in Community programmes, in particular in education, vocational
training, youth, research, energy, the environment, small and
medium-sized enterprises and public health. In most cases and
at the candidate countries' request, the cost of this participation
is co-financed by Phare. In 1998-1999, more than 16.000 students
from the candidate countries benefited from ERASMUS and 34.000
participated in the YOUTH programme.
Cyprus participates in certain programmes in
audio-visual, education, vocational training, youth, scientific
research and small and medium-sized enterprises. An agreement
has been negotiated with Malta on its participation in programmes
dealing with education, vocational training and youth.
Turkey participates in two Community programmes
(Life and the 5th Framework Programme for Research
and Technological Development). Following the Helsinki European
Council conclusions, the Commission is preparing for full Turkish
participation in education, vocational training and youth programmes.
Discussions with the Turkish authorities are underway as for
participation in other Community programmes.
Participation in any given programme depends
upon either an Association Council decision or an equivalent
agreement with Cyprus and, in the near future, Malta and Turkey.
As these programmes evolve, numerous decisions or agreements
are required on the participation of the candidates. To shorten
the procedures, the Commission had recommended to the Council
in December 1999 to proceed through a single framework decision
(or agreement) for each candidate country, to allow its participation
in all Community programmes. The Commission is now proposing
ten Framework Decisions to the Council for Central and Eastern
European countries as well as three draft negotiating directives
with a view to concluding bilateral agreements with Cyprus,
Malta and Turkey.
Negotiations for the participation of all 13
candidate countries in the European Environment Agency have
recently been concluded. Following ratification of the relevant
agreements, most will become members of the Agency in 2001.
Turkey will participate in activities of the European Environmental
Agency from January 2001. Similar agreements will shortly be
negotiated with most candidates on participation in the European
Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug-Addiction. Preparations
for participation in other Community agencies are also under
5. Analytical examination of the acquis
The analytical examination of the acquis,
'screening', which began with the candidate countries of
Central and Eastern Europe and Cyprus in March 1998, and with
Malta in February 1999, was completed at the end of 1999. It
has helped identify issues that may need to be taken up in the
The new acquis adopted in the course of
1999 was transmitted to the negotiating countries in the first
part of 2000. Meetings to explain the new acquis were
held on certain issues. This will be repeated in early 2001
to present the new acquis adopted in 2000. In future
the Association committees and sub-committees will be used to
explain the new acquis and to discuss its adoption and
In the same way, the Association Council with
Turkey set up eight sub-committees in April 2000 to prepare
the process of analytical examination of the acquis and
to monitor the implementation of the Accession Partnership priorities.
Three of these sub-committees have met already: agriculture
and fisheries, transport, energy and environment and internal
market. They will all have met by the end of 2000, with a second
series of meetings scheduled for early 2001. The Commission
will then 'report to the Council on progress in preparing the
process of analytical examination of the acquis' as requested
by the European Council of Santa Maria da Feira.
6. The European Conference
The European Conference is a forum for political
consultation on issues of common interest to the EU member states
and the candidate countries. Turkey will participate for the
first time in the European Conference in Sochaux on 23 November
2000. This conference, at ministerial level, will be devoted
to the EU's institutional reforms. A second one, at the level
of Heads of State and government, will be held in Nice on 7
December. Turkey's participation will enable the Conference
to function as intended.
The Commission suggests that, after the Nice
European Council, the European Conference's working methods
be improved and that it continue to be used as the framework
for discussing the future of the Union with the candidate countries.
by the Candidate Countries in meeting membership criteria
The Commission first set out its analysis of
the progress made by the candidate countries of Central and
Eastern Europe in meeting the accession criteria in its July
1997 Opinions on their applications for membership. These were
followed by Regular Reports in 1998 for these countries and
also for Cyprus and Turkey, and in 1999 for all the candidate
countries including Malta.
The Commission's assessment of the candidate
countries' progress is based on the criteria defined by the
European Councils in Copenhagen in 1993 and Madrid in 1995.
As in previous years, this year's reports highlight legal measures
actually adopted rather than those under preparation.
The Commission has examined whether, since October
1999, announced reforms have in fact been carried out. It has
also analysed progress in each candidate's capacity to adopt
the acquis of the European Union, which is now presented
in the order of the 29 negotiating chapters. The Commission
has continued also to analyse steps taken to adapt administrative
structures to the requirements of the acquis. This analysis
has now been integrated in the relevant acquis section,
instead of constituting a separate part of the reports. Each
chapter now includes not only an assessment of progress achieved
since last year's report, but also an assessment of overall
The assessment is based initially on information
provided by the candidate countries themselves. The Commission
has also taken into account information provided in the screening
of the acquis and in the context of the accession
negotiations as well as in meetings held under the Association
Agreements. It has also compared information from these sources
with that contained in the new National Programmes for the Adoption
of the Acquis, which were transmitted to the Commission
in the first part of 2000. The Commission has also drawn on
the reports of the European Parliament, evaluations from the
Member States, the work of international organisations, in particular
the Council of Europe and OSCE, and international financial
institutions as well as non-governmental organisations.
1. Political criteria
a) Overall Development
The Copenhagen European Council stated that
"membership requires that the candidate country has achieved
stability of institutions guaranteeing democracy, the rule
of law, human rights, and the respect for and protection of
minorities". Article 6 of the Amsterdam Treaty indicates
that "The Union is founded on the principles of liberty,
democracy, respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms
and the rule of law".
In the 1999 reports, the Commission concluded
that all the currently negotiating candidate countries met
the political criteria, even if some still had progress to
make in the protection of human rights and minorities. The
countries have continued to strengthen the functioning of
their democratic systems of government. Free and fair national
or local elections were held in Bulgaria, Hungary, Lithuania,
Poland, Romania and Slovenia since the last Regular Reports.
Modernisation of public administration
and strengthening the judiciary are of crucial importance
in the implementation of the acquis and the transition
process. Considerable efforts have been made to train civil
servants and judges and to reinforce the independence, professionalism
and effectiveness of public administration and the civil service.
This needs to be sustained.
Last year's reports identified corruption
as a serious problem 'exacerbated by low salaries in the public
sector and extensive use of bureaucratic controls in the economy'.
This assessment remains valid. Corruption, fraud and economic
crime are widespread in most candidate countries, leading
to a lack of confidence by the citizens and discrediting the
reforms. Anti-corruption programmes have been undertaken and
some progress made, including accession to international instruments
in this area, but corruption remains a matter of serious concern.
In last year's composite paper, the Commission
had underlined the problems in childcare institutions in
Romania. Since then, Romaniahas adopted legislative, administrative
and financial measures, with PHARE support, to address this
issue. However the living conditions of over 100,000 children
have not improved and a policy for structural reform is only
now being put in place. Further sustained efforts are therefore
required to achieve tangible improvements, as well as addressing
the problem of street children, in full respect of human rights.
In spite of legal prohibition, trafficking
in women and children is a growing problem in certain
candidates, which have become countries of origin, transit
and destination. The abuse of international adoption schemes
is also a matter of concern. Significant efforts are necessary
to prevent such trafficking.
Legal protection of gender equality
has progressed in most candidate countries, through a more
appropriate legislative framework and also with the signature
of the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Elimination
of all Forms of Discrimination against Women. Law implementation
also has progressed, through more effective Labour inspection
services or specific bodies set up in some countries, such
as the Ombudsman for Equal Opportunities. However, further
efforts are needed to promote the economic and social equality
As regards minorities, positive developments
have occurred since last year's reports. Estonia and Latvia
have further progressed in the integration of non-citizens
and continue to fulfil all the OSCE recommendations regarding
citizenship and naturalisation. In both countries, the language
law has been brought into compliance with international standards.
The basic treaty between Hungary and Slovakia is being implemented
concerning the Hungarian minorityin Slovakia. In Romania,
following the rejection of appeals against the government's
decision to establish a university teaching in Hungarian,
German and Romanian, it is hoped that this project will soon
The Roma continue to face widespread
discrimination and difficulties in social and economic life,
as underlined in last year's reports. In most countries where
this situation occurs, measures and programmes have now been
adopted, supported by PHARE funding and, in some cases, national
budgetary resources. These programmes, which need to be supported
by budgetary means in all countries, should be implemented
in a more sustained manner, in close co-operation with Roma
representatives. To that aim, the EU presidency organised
a conference in Lisbon, in June 2000, in close co-operation
with the Commission, with the participation of Roma NGOs.
In its 1999 report, the Commission concluded
that Turkey did not meet the Copenhagen political criteria.
This remains valid. However, over the past year, important
changes have occurred: the Government has adopted, in September
2000, a number of 'priority objectives' for reforms and legislation
to comply with the Copenhagen political criteria, on the basis
of a report of the Supreme Board of Co-ordination for Human
Rights. Moreover, the Government has signed two major human
rights conventions. Another positive development is the public
debate that started in Turkey, since the Helsinki European
Council, on the conditions for Turkey's accession to the EU.
This debate has been fuelled also by the publication of reports
on torture by the Turkish Grand National Assembly Human Rights
The Commission is still concerned about shortcomings
as regards respect for human rights and the right of minorities
and about the constitutional role that the army plays in political
life through the National Security Council.
However, the Commission welcomes the recent
initiatives. It strongly encourages the Government to translate
its declared intentions into concrete measures and hopes that
the Parliament will ratify the recently signed human rights
conventions without significant reservations. The Commission
has also welcomed the decision to defer the execution of Mr.
Abdullah Φcalan. It hopes that the situation in south-east
Turkey will further stabilise.
The requirements set by the Copenhagen political
criteria, and the Commission's regular assessment of progress
achieved in meeting them, have led to positive developments
in all candidate countries. The overall record in strengthening
democratic institutions, in respecting the rule of law and
in protecting human rights has improved since last year.
However, the reform or the reinforcement of
the judiciary should be accelerated to ensure respect of the
rule of law and the effective enforcement of the acquis.
The continued prevalence of corruption gives cause for concern.
Tangible results in this field are also needed to respond
to public concern and help ensure a transparent business environment.
The growing problem of trafficking in women and children calls
for vigorous measures. Sustained efforts are required to improve
the situation of the Roma. Turkey should now take the necessary
decisions to translate its intentions concerning human rights
into concrete measures.
The conclusions of each Regular Report are contained
in Annex 1. The list ofHuman Rights conventions ratified
by the candidate countries is in Annex 3.
2. Economic criteria
a) Overall development
This reporting period's assessment of the progress
made in meeting the Copenhagen economic criteria takes place
against the background of strong world wide growth, with the
pick up of growth in the European Union being particularly
beneficial for the candidate countries. Whereas 1999 figures
still are influenced by the successive negative effects of
the Asian, Russian and Kosovo crisis, these effects are subsiding
in the available figures for the year 2000. The overall average
real increase in GDP for the ten Central and Eastern European
candidates is expected to be around 4% and just below 5% for
all thirteen candidate countries.
With few exceptions, the overall economic performance
of the candidate countries has improved. As the EU recorded
strong growth at the same time, not all of them have shown
real economic convergence towards the EU average. Moreover,
disparities within the candidate countries tend to widen,
in particular between the capitals and the regions bordering
the EU, on one side, and the eastern regions on the other
side. This is not an uncommon development in catching-up countries.
However, future policies should also aim to reduce regional
economic and social disparities.
In 1999 average real GDP growth for
the ten Central and Eastern European countries was 2.2%. Five
candidate countries have maintained high growth rates: Slovenia
at 4.9%, Cyprus and Hungary at 4.5%, Poland and Malta at 4.2%.
Economic growth in Bulgaria has remained positive at 2.4%,
but has decreased in comparison to 1998, mainly as a result
of the Kosovo and Russian crises. Slovakia's growth rate has
decreased to 1.9%. The negative effects of Russian crisis
has continued to influence the growth rates of three other
countries: Latvia at 0.1%, Estonia at -1.1%, and Lithuania
at -4.1%. The insufficiency of structural reforms together
with the on-going effect of the Kosovo crisis in Romania have
led again to negative growth at -3.2%. The devastating earthquake
and the Russian crisis have affected Turkey whose growth has
turned to be negative at -5.0%. Recession has come to an end
in the Czech Republic with only -0.2% negative growth in 1999.
The main statistical indicators are set out in Annex 2.
Growth has turned positive and has increased
in all candidate countries in the first half of this year
compared to the same period in 1999, ranging from around 2%
in Lithuania, Romania and Slovakia to around 6% in Estonia,
Hungary, Turkey and Poland. Growth rates for Bulgaria, Latvia,
Slovenia, Malta and the Czech Republic range from just over
3% to just over 5 %.
Macroeconomic conditions have remained
sound in most countries, but performance on current account
deficits, inflation and fiscal balances is still uneven.
In 1999, with the exception of Romania and
Turkey, where inflation rates were 45.8% and 64.9%,
respectively, inflation has remained under control in the
candidate countries with rates close to the average of 10%
or lower. However, in Hungary and Poland the slow pace of
disinflation remains a cause of concern. Particular attention
needs to be paid to the relative large current account
deficits in Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland. Current
account balances have improved in Cyprus, Estonia, Romania
and Slovakia, and worsened in Bulgaria and Slovenia, even
though they have remained restrained. The current account
deficits have to a large extent been financed by capital inflows
connected with privatisation, but green-field investments
are increasing as well in a number of countries. Although
efforts have been made in most candidate countries to stabilise
general government balances in the reporting period,
the sustainability of public finances remains a cause of concern
in almost all candidate countries, albeit to different degrees.
The privatisation of large enterprises
has further progressed in Hungary, the Czech Republic, Estonia
and Bulgaria and less so in Latvia. In Poland, the pace of
privatisation has been very strong, although restructuring
is at an early stage in the steel and agriculture sectors.
Good progress has been achieved on the privatisation of banks
in the Czech republic, Bulgaria, Latvia, Malta and Slovakia.
Progress has been made also in the areas of energy supply
and telecommunications. However, in a number of countries,
privatisation has facilitated the emergence of a new business
elite often stemming from the old nomenclatura. Efforts should
be made to increase further the transparency of the privatisation
Unemployment has increased significantly
in most candidate countries, both in terms of the registered
unemployment rates and if measured according to the definitions
of the International Labour Organisation. In most countries,
this is still the result of economic restructuring together
with the fall in growth due to external crises. In countries
such as Bulgaria, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland and Slovakia,
where the unemployment rate is relatively high, structural
reforms are providing a sound basis for economic growth and
employment creation in the future. In Hungary and Slovenia,
unemployment rates have decreased this year to 7% and 7.6%,
respectively. Cyprus and Malta have relatively low rates at
3.6% and 5.3% respectively. Efforts need to be made in all
countries to improve the response of the labour markets to
growth opportunities, by increasing labour flexibility and
mobility. Once the most painful reforms and restructuring,
associated with large employment losses, have been completed,
positive net job creation relating to new economic activity
could start to reduce unemployment as witnessed in Hungary.
The overall volume of foreign direct investment
(FDI) into the Central and Eastern European candidate countries
continued to increase in 1999. Net inflows were higher than
3% of GDP in most countries, with sharp increases in Slovakia
(from 2.8 to 3.7% of GDP), in the Czech Republic (from 4.5%
to 9.1%) and in Bulgaria (from 2.8 to 6.1%). The stock of
FDI per capita built up since 1989 is still the highest in
Hungary, followed by the Czech Republic and Estonia. A high
level of investment remains essential to further restructure
and modernise the economies of all the Central and Eastern
European candidate countries as well as Turkey. In Turkey,
FDI inflows have been particularly low since the early 1980s,
reflecting a relatively high degree of economic volatility.
As a result, the stock of FDI per capita is significantly
lower than in most other candidate countries. Cyprus and Malta
continue to have much higher levels of FDI per capita.
As investors need a stable, predictable and
supportive legal and regulatory framework in order to make
long-term investments, candidate countries should complete
reforms in this area making improvements whenever needed.
They should also make substantial efforts to fight against
corruption and to establish a transparent business environment.
Domestic investments, in particular for small and medium-sized
enterprises, are still hampered by the low level of financial
intermediation. In general the financial sector is still underdeveloped
and particular attention should be given to completing the
regulatory, prudential and supervision framework to provide
a sound basis for its future expansion. The banking sector
continues to be the most advanced part of the financial sector
and its performance has improved, however there are still
deficiencies in the delivery of services throughout the economy.
The European Union is, by far, the most important
trading partner of the thirteen candidate countries. Between
1993 and 1999 the total value of trade has increased
almost threefold to 210 billion. At 13.7% of total trade,
the candidate countries together are the EU's second trade
partner after the US. The EU's trade surplus with the candidate
countries has diminished significantly in 1999, but still
was 25,8 billion, of which 45% stems from trade with Poland
and 20% with Turkey. It has more than compensated the EU's
overall trade deficit (13.7 billion, which corresponds with
roughly 0.2% of EU GDP.). Trade integration of Central and
Eastern European candidate countries with the EU has continued
to increase. The highest shares are to be found in Hungary,
with 64.4% of its imports coming from the EU and 76.2% of
its exports going to the EU, and in Estonia, with 65% and
72.7%, respectively. Trade integration has further increased
with the other countries, including with those which had the
lowest shares in 1998, such as Latvia and Lithuania. An initial
analysis of trade figures for the first six months in 2000
confirms the general pattern, with an overall increase of
trade of some 26 % (for imports and exports) with the 13 candidate
The free trade provisions established by the
Europe Agreements with the ten Central and Eastern European
countries have clearly paved the way for economic integration
with the EU. The additional agricultural Protocols recently
agreed in the framework of the Europe Agreements represent
a major step forward which will further enhance trade relations
between the EU and Central and Eastern European countries
(see above under "Association Agreements"). Negotiations
will continue in order to broaden the scope of the agricultural
bilateral trade concessions.
As announced in last year's composite paper,
the situation regarding the application of competition, state
aids and internal market rules in each candidate country has
been reviewed by the Commission during 2000, including in
the context of the accession negotiations. That examination
has shown that progress is not yet sufficient so as to recommend
that the EU refrain from using commercial defence instruments
for industrial products. The Commission will continue to review
The progress of each country has been assessed
according to the sub-criteria of the Copenhagen economic criteria
- the existence of a functioning market economy and the capacity
to withstand competitive pressure and market forces within
the Union. These sub-criteria were more precisely defined
in the Commission Communication on Agenda 2000:
The existence of a functioning market economy
requires that prices, as well as trade, are liberalised and
that an enforceable legal system, including property rights,
is in place. Macroeconomic stability and consensus about economic
policy enhance the performance of a market economy. A well-developed
financial sector and the absence of any significant barriers
to market entry and exit improve the efficiency of the economy.
The second criterion ('capacity to withstand
competitive pressure and market forces within the Union')
depends on the existence of a market economy and a stable
macroeconomic framework, allowing economic agents to make
decisions in a climate of predictability. It also requires
a sufficient amount of human and physical capital, including
infrastructure. State enterprises need to be restructured
and all enterprises need to invest to improve their efficiency.
Furthermore, the more access enterprises have to outside finance
and the more successful they are at restructuring and innovating,
the greater will be their capacity to adapt. Overall, an economy
will be better able to take on the obligations of membership
the higher the degree of economic integration it achieves
with the Union prior to accession. Both the volume and the
range of products traded with EU Member States provide evidence
Taking the two criteria together, it can be
said that Cyprus and Malta are functioning market economies
and should be able to cope with competitive pressure and market
forces in the Union. Estonia, Hungary and Poland are functioning
market economies and should be able to meet the second criterion
in the near term provided they maintain their current reform
path. The Czech Republic and Slovenia can be regarded as functioning
market economies and should be able also to meet the second
criterion in the near term, provided that they complete and
implement remaining reforms. Latvia, Lithuania and Slovakia
can be regarded as functioning market economies and should
be able to meet the second criterion in the medium term, provided
that they implement current structural reform programmes and
undertake further reforms where necessary. Bulgaria does not
meet either criterion but has clearly made further progress
towards this objective. Romania has made too limited progress
towards meeting the criteria. Turkey should continue to improve
the functioning of markets and to enhance its competitiveness
in order to meet the criteria.
The detailed conclusions on the fulfillment of
each sub criterion in each regular Report can be found in Annex
3. Other obligations of Membership
The Copenhagen European Council indicated that
membership requires 'the ability to take on the obligations
of membership, including adherence to the aims of political,
economic and monetary union'.
a) Adoption, implementation and enforcement
of the acquis
The ability to take on the obligations of membership
requires the adoption, implementation and enforcement of the
acquis. The European Council of Madrid highlighted
the importance not only of incorporating the acquis into
national legislation, but also of ensuring its effective application
through appropriate administrative and judicial structures.
This is a key aspect of preparation for membership. Its importance
was recalled by the European Council of Santa Maria da Feira
which stated: 'in addition to finding solutions to the negotiating
issues, progress in the negotiations depends (...) especially
on candidate states' capacity to effectively implement and
enforce the acquis. This calls for important efforts
by the candidates to continue their domestic reforms, in particular
strengthening their administrative and judicial structures'.
In order to effectively implement and enforce
the acquis, existing structures need to be strengthened
and new institutions created, for which the appropriate human
and financial resources need to be made available. The NPAAs
are crucial in this regard. Despite progress in the adoption
of the acquis, the candidates' capacity to implement
and enforce it properly remains inadequate, in many cases
because of weak administrative structures.
Acquis preparation and implementation
is not only a matter for government and administration but
also for business, regional and local bodies and professional
organisations. The European Parliament, the Economic and Social
Committee and the Committee of Regions have called for the
closer involvement of civil society in this process. The candidate
countries' national authorities need to enhance dialogue with
representative institutions to explain the acquis and
to facilitate its country-wide adoption and implementation.
b) Country overview
Overall, since the last Regular Reports, the
adoption of legislation for alignment with the acquis
has proceeded well in most candidate countries. In contrast,
progress in setting up and strengthening the institutions
required to implement and enforce the acquis has been
uneven. The conclusions of the Regular Reports, country by
country, are contained in Annex 1.
c) Sector overview
The acquis, like national legislation,
evolves to meet changing needs and requirements in areas such
as telecommunications, electronic commerce, environmental
or maritime safety protection. In most cases, the new acquis
builds on the existing one. Candidate countries should not,
therefore, delay adoption of current acquis in areas
where new texts are under preparation. The adoption and implementation
of the existing acquis will facilitate any subsequent
Significant progress in alignment with the
internal market acquis can be reported for most
candidate countries, in particular in the field of standardisation
and certification. The same efforts have not been made yet
in market surveillance. Most countries have made good progress
in the fields of services, capital movement and company law.
Notable achievements in legislative terms were
made in several countries as regards intellectual and industrial
property protection. However, enforcement remains a problem
in many countries, where the fight against piracy and counterfeiting
should be strengthened. Additional efforts are also needed
in the field of public procurement. While progress has continued
in the competition acquis, serious efforts should be
made as regards state aids control, which remains a cause
for concern in several countries. Another area of concern
is customs where significant efforts are needed for both acquis
alignment and implementation.
In the agriculture sector, several candidates
have made significant progress as regards the adoption and
implementation of the acquis and the convergence of
current national policies with the Common Agricultural Policy,
although candidate countries do not have to introduce common
market organisation policy instruments before accession..
Nonetheless much remains to be accomplished as regards structural
reforms (e.g. farm size, processing sector, marketing channels,
land market). They should be initiated and conducted as a
matter of priority in countries where they are most needed
such as Poland and Romania. In the veterinary and
phytosanitary sectors, although progress can be noted
for several candidates as well, efforts should be speeded
up to align with this important acquis well before
accession. In the area of food safety, the candidates need
to ensure coherent transposition, implementation and controls
throughout the whole food chain.
In the transport sector, good progress
has been made in a number of candidate countries. An issue
of concern remains maritime safety in several countries with
shipping relevance. Whilst important steps have been taken
in some of them, these do not always correspond to the most
pressing needs. It is all the more essential for the countries
concerned that serious efforts be made as the current maritime
safety acquis is likely to be reinforced in the near
future as in the air and railway transport sectors.
With a few exceptions, adoption of the acquis
continues to be slow in the social policy and employment
sector, including social dialogue. Social cohesion is at risk
if progress is not made in these areas in parallel with reforms
and acquis adoption in the other parts of this field.
It is, therefore, essential that candidate countries accelerate
In the energy sector certain progress
has been made in candidate countries. It is however necessary
that preparations continue vigorously particularly as concerns
the internal energy market (electricity and gas directives).
New acquis is expected in these areas after the Lisbon
European Council's call for speeding up of liberalisation,
aiming at achieving a fully operational internal market.
As concerns nuclear safety, successive
European Councils have recalled the need to ensure a high
level of nuclear safety. The Helsinki Summit called on the
Council to consider how to address the issue of nuclear safety
in the framework of the enlargement process 'in accordance
with the relevant Council decisions'. The Commission is fully
supporting this ongoing work. Moreover, the Commission continues
to monitor actively the effective implementation of the closure
commitments as regards certain nuclear reactors in Bulgaria,
Lithuania and Slovakia qualified as non-upgradable at reasonable
In contrast to last year, the transposition
of environment acquis has started to progress
faster in a number of countries. Much remains to be done however
for both acquis alignment and implementation capacity.
Efforts are needed in particular in the areas of water, industrial
pollution control, chemicals and nature protection, where
all countries would need to put more administrative resources
into the acquis transposition. The ongoing work to
prepare specific implementation programmes with corresponding
financial plans needs to be accelerated.
Steady progress has been made in most candidate
countries in the field of justice and home affairs.
New legislation has been introduced in several countries on
visa policy, asylum and rules of admission of third countries'
citizens. Nevertheless, more attention should be paid, on
the one hand, to border management where much remains to be
done to ensure that the future EU's external borders will
be managed according to the Union's standards and, on the
other hand, to judicial co-operation in penal matters, especially
corruption, where new legislation and international conventions
need to be translated into efficient administrative arrangements.
Furthermore, important efforts remain to be made to ensure
that the acquis is acted upon including through the
setting up of specialized administrative bodies and vocational
training of officials.
The candidate countries have continued to align
themselves with the common foreign and security
policy of the Union, in particular by joining the EU's
common positions. They continue to participate in political
d) EMU and the Euro
Economic and monetary union, EMU, is an integral
part of the acquis. However, a clear distinction should
be made between participation in EMU - compulsory for all
Member States - and participation in the euro zone. Candidate
countries are not expected to adopt the euro directly upon
accession. Convergence criteria are not accession criteria.
In the run up to accession, the candidates should concentrate
primarily on furthering the process of structural, and economic
reform while developing the administrative capacity. Participation
in the euro zone can only be the final step in what has been,
and will remain, a lengthy and successful process of economic
integration with the EU.
The process of adopting the euro for candidate
countries will consist of three stages: first, the current
pre-accession phase during which progress in the transition
to well functioning market economies and competitiveness has
to be completed, made irreversible, and in which macroeconomic
stability must be made sustainable; second, an intermediary
phase between accession and the adoption of the euro, where
full participation in the Single Market is taking place together
with progressive monetary integration towards the euro zone
and through participation, at some point, in the exchange
rate mechanism; and last, the participation in the euro zone.
For new Member States, as for initial participants
in the euro zone, adoption of the euro will be decided following
the examination of the achievement of a high degree of sustainable
convergence, according to the procedure provided in article
121 of the EC Treaty.
Candidate countries should therefore concentrate,
at this stage, on how to meet fully the Copenhagen economic
criteria. As regards the pre-accession EMU acquis, substantial
efforts are presently needed in Romania, Slovakia and Turkey
and to a lesser extent in Cyprus to align legislation. The
other candidate countries are either in line with this part
of the acquis to a large extent, or have made significant
progress in their alignment.
1. Progress to date
The negotiations opened on 31 March 1998 with
Cyprus, Hungary, Poland, Estonia, the Czech Republic and Slovenia,
and on 15 February 2000 with Malta, Romania, Slovakia, Latvia,
Lithuania and Bulgaria.
In accordance with the guidelines for the negotiations
approved by the Luxembourg European Council and confirmed by
the Helsinki European Council, each candidate proceeds at its
own pace, depending on its degree of preparedness. Each
candidate is assessed on its own merits and will join the European
Union when it is able to meet the obligations of membership.
The negotiations are conducted in bilateral accession
conferences between the member states and each applicant. The
acquis has been divided into 31 chapters for the negotiations.
The first round of negotiations was held on 10
November 1998 with Cyprus, Hungary, Poland, Estonia, the Czech
Republic and Slovenia. The first round of negotiations was held
on 14 June 2000 with Malta, Romania, Slovakia, Latvia, Lithuania
After two years of negotiation with the six first
countries, 29 chapters (all chapters dealing with the acquis
except 'institutional questions' and 'other questions') have
been opened and 11 to 16 chapters have been provisionally closed.
By the end of this year, up to 17 chapters may have been opened
with the countries which started negotiations in 2000 and 7
to 11 chapters may have been provisionally closed.
Provisional closure depends on credible commitments
concerning the alignment of legislation with the acquis
and the administrative capacity to apply it properly. Such commitments
are monitored closely by the Commission. So far, this has not
led it to recommend the reopening of any chapters. Certain chapters
remain open in the absence of sufficient commitments or because
of requests for transitional measures.
The negotiations follow the principle of differentiation
and give a possibility for those countries that joined the negotiations
at a later stage to catch up.
2. Towards the conclusion of the negotiations
On the basis of the progress made to date, the
Commission considers that the time has come to outline a strategy
to take the negotiations into a more substantial phase and point
the way towards their conclusion. This strategy would enable
the member states and the candidates to take up in the accession
conferences the key issues which need to be resolved to bring
the negotiations to a satisfactory conclusion.
The main elements of the strategy put forward
in detail below are:
- An invitation to the member states and the candidates
to take up in the negotiations the substantial issues raised
by requests for transitional measures
- An analysis of such requests, distinguishing between
cases that the Commission considers to be acceptable, negotiable
- A detailed road map providing a clear sequence for tackling
these issues in the course of 2001 and 2002
- A proposal to facilitate negotiations by 'setting-aside'
chapters with a limited number of remaining problems
- An indication of the time needed to complete the negotiations
This strategy is based on the principles laid
down at the outset of the negotiations and the progress already
achieved. It would confirm the Union's determination to inject
new momentum into the negotiations and to move them forward
according to an ambitious but realistic timetable. This will
encourage the candidates to intensify their preparations and
enhance confidence in the accession process.
a) Transitional measures
Accession negotiations are based on the principle
that candidates accept the acquis and apply it effectively
upon accession. Transitional measures, whereby the application
of part of the acquis is delayed for a specified period,
are accepted only in well-justified cases. The Commission
has registered, up to now, over 170 requests for transitional
measures from candidates in fields other than agriculture,
and over 340 requests in agriculture.
The general position, which the Union presented
to the candidates at the outset of the negotiations, stated
that their acceptance of the acquis 'may give rise
to technical adjustments, and exceptionally to transitional
measures. Such transitional measures shall be limited in time
and scope, and accompanied by a plan with clearly defined
stages for application of the acquis. They must not
involve amendments to the rules or policies of the Union,
disrupt their proper functioning, or lead to significant distortions
of competition. In this connection, account must be taken
of the interests of the Union, the applicant country and the
other applicant states'.
The Commission expressed the view in last year's
Composite Paper that 'for the areas linked to the extension
of the single market, regulatory measures could be implemented
quickly. Any transition periods should therefore be few and
short. For those areas of the acquis where considerable
adaptations are necessary and which require substantial effort,
including important financial outlays in areas such as environment,
energy and infrastructure, transition arrangements could be
spread over a definite period of time, provided candidates
can demonstrate that alignment is under way and that they
are committed to detailed and realistic plans for alignment,
including the necessary investments'.
The Commission will base its assessment of
the candidate's requests on these criteria. The analysis will
be made on a case-by-case basis, taking into account the country's
interests and the likely impact of each request on the functioning
of the Union and the interests of the other applicant states.
The acceptance of a transitional measure in one case will
not constitute a precedent for others. Similarly, transitional
measures granted in previous accessions do not necessarily
create a precedent for the present negotiations.
In preparing common positions, in response
to the candidate's requests, the Commission will distinguish
between three cases:
1) Acceptable. This category includes
transitional measures of a technical nature that pose no
significant problems. The Commission has, since September
2000, been examining favourably requests for transitional
measures that are limited in time and scope, and are considered
not to have a significant impact on competition or the functioning
of the internal market. Acceptance of this type of request
has already advanced negotiations in certain chapters, and
will continue to do so.
2) Negotiable. This category includes
those requests with a more significant impact, in terms
of competition or the internal market, or in time and scope.
The Commission may recommend that transitional measures
can be accepted in this category, under certain conditions
and within a certain time horizon. Acceptance may be conditional
on the implementation of other parts of the acquis
without transitional measures or on commitment to well-defined
plans for implementation and investment.
Requests in this category will be examined
taking into account not only competition and the single
market, but also, as appropriate, effects on the economy,
health, safety, the environment, consumers, citizens, other
common policies and the Community budget.
3) Unacceptable. Requests for transitional
measures posing fundamental problems will not be accepted
By classifying certain requests as 'negotiable',
the Commission does not imply that it will recommend their
acceptance, in whole or part, but rather that a solution may
be found under certain conditions.
The Commission reserves the possibility, where
appropriate, to propose transitional measures in the interest
of the Union.
b) A road map for the negotiations
In order to advance the negotiations on the
basis of the existing principles and following the methodology
for handling transitional measures outlined above, the Commission
proposes a 'road map', in the form of a sequenced approach
to the chapters in the negotiations. The Commission suggests
that the accession conferences take up as far as possible,
in the course of 2001, most outstanding substantial issues
in the negotiations, except those with the greatest budgetary
implications. These, together with the 'institutional' chapter
and remaining unresolved issues, would be addressed in the
first half of 2002.
The suggested priority schedules proposed below
would permit the negotiations to progress on chapters that
remain open, notably because of requests for transitional
measures. This schedule is indicative and could, in a number
of cases, be brought forward when the preparedness of a candidate
country so permits: as witnessed by the actual state of negotiations
some of the chapters listed below have already been provisionally
closed with some of the candidate countries and it may be
possible to close other chapters provisionally earlier than
envisaged. Conversely, the schedule may not necessarily be
realized for all candidates on all chapters in the given time
periods. This approach maintains the principle of differentiation
and should permit negotiations with well-prepared countries
to advance rapidly.
The road map identifies priorities for the
negotiations for the next three semesters. The identification
of priorities is based on an analysis of the Commission as
to the possibilities to advance with negotiations in certain
fields. The proposal would be to move forward early on a number
of internal market related matters, to progress with social
matters and to push for an ambitious programme related to
environment in the first semester, whilst concentrating on
provisional closure for chapters needing a longer preparation
period in the second semester. The timing is also conditioned
on an evaluation of the respective efforts needed to come
to definitive answers on the transition periods and to produce
detailed and realistic alignment and investment schedules.
The progress of negotiations and the provisional
closure of negotiations on chapters will depend on all parties
making the necessary contributions. The aim of the 'road map'
is to ensure that all parties to the negotiations commit themselves
to a realistic timetable. The Commission undertakes, where
this is feasible, to make the necessary proposals for chapters
remaining open in time to permit the Council to formulate
common positions to present to the candidates according to
this schedule. It invites member states to be ready to formulate
their negotiating positions on the substantial issues at stake
in particular chapters, at the latest in the period indicated
by the schedules. Candidate countries should also be prepared
to give the necessary substantive replies and commitments
in this period.
In cases where a chapter cannot be provisionally
closed, but the number of remaining problems is very limited,
the Commission would propose to modify the approach taken
up to now. Instead of leaving such a chapter on the negotiating
table, the chapter could be 'set aside' with the mention that
it will be revisited in order to find a solution to the few
remaining issues at the appropriate moment. This would reduce
considerably the number of open chapters and identify more
clearly the problems remaining to be resolved.
The road map refers essentially to chapters
in which the candidates have requested transitional measures.
Certain chapters might need to be identified in addition as
the negotiations progress. In line with the approach to introduce
a 'road map', the Commission proposes also to adapt the approach
to opening chapters (see below) to permit well prepared candidate
countries which started negotiations this year to catch up.
Monitoringwill continue for all chapters, to
establish whether commitments concerning the adoption and
implementation of the acquis have been fulfilled. Where
the actual enforcement track record of each candidate is considered
to be primordial for the definitive closure of the chapter,
such as in the field of competition, the monitoring process
may be reinforced and the Commission reserves the right to
recommend the re-opening of the relevant chapter.
Priority schedule for the first half of
In this period, the Union would have as its
priority to define common positions, including positions on
requests for transitional measures, with a view to closing
provisionally the following chapters:
Free movement of goods
Free movement of persons
Freedom to provide services
Free movement of capital
Culture and audio-visual policy
Social policy and employment
Issues of substance to be considered in this
period include, for example, co-ordination of social security
schemes; recognition of diplomas; land acquisition; pharmaceuticals;
freedom of movement for workers; health and safety at work;
quality of water; pollution and treatment of waste; preferential
trade regimes etc. as well as general questions related to
the capacity to implement and enforce the Community acquis.
Priority schedule for the second half of
In addition to any element not yet addressed
in the previous period, the Union would have as its priority,
in this period, to define common positions, including positions
on requests for transitional measures, with a view to closing
provisionally the following chapters:
Agriculture (in particular veterinary and phytosanitary
Justice and home affairs
Issues of substance to be considered in this
period include, for example, proper implementation and enforcement
of state aid legislation; land transport; maritime safety;
internal gas and electricity markets; nuclear safety; Customs
Code; VAT; excise duties; food safety; visa policy; Schengen
acquis etc. as well as general questions related to
the capacity to implement and enforce the Community acquis.
Priority schedule for the first half of
In this period, the Union would concentrate
on any important questions from other chapters for which solutions
have not yet been found and define common positions, including
positions on all requests for transitional measures, with
a view to closing provisionally the remaining chapters:
Agriculture (remaining questions)
Regional policy and structural instruments
Financial and budgetary provisions
c) Opening of remaining chapters
Over half the chapters will have been opened
by the end of this year with the best prepared countries with
which negotiations began in 2000. The European Council of
Santa Maria da Feira considered that "it should be feasible
to open negotiations in all areas of the acquis with
the most advanced of these countries as early as possible
In view of this objective, the Commission recommends
that Bulgaria, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Romania and Slovakia
should rapidly prepare position papers on those chapters where
they consider to be ready for negotiations, basing themselves
also on the analysis put forward in the Regular Reports and
the road map outlined above. These position papers should
be ready in time for the Commission to be able to present
draft common positions early next year.
The Commission recalls that real progress in
the negotiations depends more on the quality of preparations
made by each candidate than on the number of chapters opened.
The Commission will therefore base its assessment on whether
a chapter should be opened and a draft common position prepared
on the substance of each position paper presented.
3. Prospects for concluding the negotiations
The proposed strategy for the accession negotiations,
combined with the recommendations concerning priorities for
each candidate set out in the Accession Partnerships, gives
a clear perspective for future accessions. The approach set
out above should make it possible to attain the objectives set
out by the European Council, the European Parliament and the
Commission in a number of key declarations.
The Helsinki European Council declared in December
1999 that, provided the necessary institutional reform is in
place, the Union 'should be in a position to welcome new member
states from the end of 2002 as soon as they have demonstrated
their ability to assume the obligations of membership, and once
the negotiating process has been successfully completed'.
The European Parliament, in its resolution in
October 2000, called for member states and candidate countries
to 'do everything in their power to ensure that the European
Parliament can give its assent to the first accession treaties
before the European Parliament elections in 2004, in order that
these countries might have the prospect of participating in
The Commission maintains the view expressed in
its 1999 Composite Paper, that it should be possible to conclude
negotiations with the most advanced candidate countries in 2002.
The three conditions for accomplishing the first
accessions are the financial framework, institutional reform,
and the conclusion of negotiations with those candidates who
fulfil all the criteria for membership: