Glossary Inforegio English
In 1995, it was decided to start negotiations with Cyprus. For the
countries of central and eastern Europe, although the applications
of the ten countries were given a favourable reception at the Luxembourg
European Council (December 1997), it was nonetheless decided to
proceed in two phases. On 30 March 1998, negotiations began with
the six 'first wave' countries (Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Estonia,
Hungary, Poland, and Slovenia).
The other countries of central and Eastern Europe (Bulgaria, Latvia,
Lithuania, Malta, Romania and Slovakia), the 'second wave', were
allowed to join the 'first wave' in February 2000, as it was felt
that their reforms had made rapid enough progress
Before negotiations opened, an evaluation of each applicant country's
legislation was carried out to set up a work programme and define
negotiating positions. After that, the negotiations proper began,
in the form of bilateral Intergovernmental Conferences (European
Union/applicant country), bringing the ministers together every
six months and the ambassadors every month.
The political and economic reforms carried out by the applicant
countries are monitored and assessed regularly, and the pace of
negotiations is determined by the results.
Concluded by the Council with each of the applicant countries (except
Cyprus) in 1998, the accession partnerships coordinate the aid provided
by the European Community to each country in central and eastern
Europe and set priorities for each sector in adapting to Community
legislation. The applicants' adherence to these priorities determines
the Community's financial assistance.
Each country then draws up a detailed programme for the adoption
of the Community acquis so as to organise the implementation of
these priorities, committing itself to a timetable and indicating
the human and financial resources needed to achieve it. This programme
is adjusted as it goes along by the Commission and the country concerned.
Economic priorities are also jointly established.
There are three financial instruments that will help support the
reforms in the countries of central and eastern Europe under the
accession partnerships from the year 2000:
- a pre-accession agricultural aid fund;
- a pre-accession structural aid fund;
- the Phare programme.
(one of the Structural Funds' four principles which were strengthened
by the revised regulations adopted in July 1993) which means that
Community assistance complements the contributions of the Member
States rather than reducing them. Except for special reasons, the
Member States must maintain public spending on each Objective at
no less than the level reached in the preceding period.
Agenda 2000 is an action programme adopted by the Commission on
15 July 1997 as an official response to requests by the Madrid European
Council in December 1995 that it present a general document on enlargement
and the reform of the common policies and a communication on the
Union's future financial framework after 31 December 1999. Agenda
2000 tackles all the questions facing the Union at the beginning
of the 21st century. Attached to it are the Commission's opinions
on the countries that have applied for Union membership.
Agenda 2000 is in three parts:
- the first addresses the question of the European Union's internal
operation, particularly the reform of the common agricultural
policy and of the policy of economic and social cohesion. It also
contains recommendations on how to face the challenge of enlargement
in the best possible conditions and proposes putting in place
a new financial framework for the period 2000-06;
- the second proposes a reinforced pre-accession strategy, incorporating
two new elements: the partnership for accession and extended participation
of the applicant countries in Community programmes and the mechanisms
for applying the Community acquis;
- the third consists of a study on the impact of the effects of
enlargement on European Union policies.
These priorities were fleshed out in some twenty legislative proposals
put forward by the European Commission in 1998. The Berlin European
Council reached an overall political agreement on the legislative
package in 1999 with the result that the measures were adopted the
same year. They cover four closely linked areas for the period 2000
- reform of the common agricultural policy,
- reform of the structural policy,
- pre-accession instruments,
- financial framework.
Aquaculture is the farming of aquatic animals. In the European Union
it takes three major forms, sea fish farming, crustaceans and molluscs
farming in seawater and freshwater fish farming. Four species, trout,
salmon, mussels and oysters, account for the bulk of Community production,
which has grown steadily over recent years. However, those active
in the industry have acquired greater experience in identifying
demand for farmed fish and, taking advantage of technological progress,
have, over the last ten years, diversified to include other species
such as sea bass, bream and, more recently, turbot.
It means the forms of assistance provided by the Funds:
- operational pragrammes or single programming documents
- Community initiative programmes
- Support for technical assistance and innovative measures.
All the Union's revenue and expenditure is entered in the Community
budget on the basis of the annual forecasts. The operational expenditure
involved in implementing Titles V and VI of the EU Treaty may, however,
constitute an exception to this rule by being charged to the Member
States. In 1998 the Community budget totalled EUR 91 billion in
The Community budget is based on several principles, including:
- unity (all the revenue and expenditure is brought together in
a single document);
- annuality (budget operations relate to a given budget year);
- equilibrium (expenditure must not exceed revenue).
The Commission is responsible for submitting a preliminary draft
budget to the Council, which shares budgetary authority with the
European Parliament. The nature of the expenditure determines which
of the two institutions has the final say, depending on whether
the expenditure is compulsory or not. However, quite apart from
the classification of expenditure and the ensuing power-sharing,
it should be remembered that it is the European Parliament that
finally adopts or rejects the budget in its entirety.
Since 1993, the budget has been the subject of an interinstitutional
agreement between Parliament, the Council and the Commission on
budgetary discipline and improving the budgetary procedure. In 1998,
the Commission presented a plan to renew the 1993 interinstitutional
agreement in the light of experience gained in implementing it and
to consolidate all the joint declarations and interinstitutional
agreements on the budget concluded since 1982.
As part of the reforms proposed by the Commission in July 1997 in
'Agenda 2000', a new financial perspective will be adopted by the
Member States to define the growth of the budget between 2000 and