Memorandum from the Secretary of State,
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
PROSPECTS FOR THE EUROPEAN COUNCIL, SEVILLE,
21-22 JUNE 2002
1. The Seville European Council is likely
to focus on asylum and immigration and Council reform. Other possible
subjects for discussions include EU action against terrorism;
ratification of the Nice Treaty; the Convention on the Future
of Europe; EU enlargement; sustainable development; a number of
economic and social issues, including the Broad Economic Policy
Guidelines, the tax package, financial services, eEurope, better
regulation and advancing ICT in schools; and international developments,
particularly India/Pakistan and the Middle East.
2. The Prime Minister wrote to the Spanish
Prime Minister on 16 May, stressing the political need for Seville
urgent action to strengthen the EU's
a tougher approach with source countries
rapid progress on joint returns to
work on the scope for Community funding
to encourage stronger frontiers and an equitable asylum system;
speedier progress in agreeing key
3. We see these measures as a single, coherent
packageaction to secure borders and improve enforcement
is essential if we are to unblock obstacles to agreement on a
common EU asylum system. And progress at the EU level may help
in our work with the French to resolve the problem of Sangatte.
4. There may also be a discussion of legal
migration into the EU. Again, we would welcome the opportunity
to discuss this issue on an EU-wide basis.
5. Seville is also likely to take stock
of progress on EU action against terrorism. While much has been
achieved in recent months, more is needed on the freezing of terrorist
assets and practical counter-terrorist co-operation.
6. We hope that agreement can be reached
on practical changes to improve the efficiency and transparency
of the Council. As agreed at Barcelona, the Presidency has visited
EU capitals to follow up Javier Solana's report and has briefed
us on its plans, although we have not yet seen the final proposals.
We think these are likely to focus on four areas not requiring
(a) improving the working practices of the
European-Council, to help deliver a more strategic body, including
through annual agenda-setting; more focussed and shorter agendas;
shorter, more operational conclusions in plain language; and use
of QMV for questions which are decided by QMV at sectoral councils;
(b) splitting the General Affairs Council
into two formationsexternal and horizontalin part
to improve the preparation of European Councils;
(c) openness when legislating on dossiers
subject to co-decision;
(d) reforming the Presidency system to ensure
7. Seville can only agree measures which
do not require Treaty change. But it may also agree on a process
for handling the next stage of Council reform, in respect of those
reforms which require Treaty change at the IGC.
8. As agreed at Barcelona, Ireland will
seek a declaration to confirm that the Treaty of Nice will not
affect its neutrality. We have not yet seen a text, but do not
expect to have any difficulties of principle.
9. Giscard d'Estaing, the Convention's President,
will give a progress report on the Convention's work to date.
10. Seville should be a routine Summit on
enlargement, principally marking the start of the last stage of
negotiations. The Commission will submit a report on the candidates'
implementation of their negotiating commitments and the strengthening
of their administrations, and the Presidency will submit a progress
report on the negotiations. We want Seville to reaffirm the European
Council's firm commitment to the enlargement timetable agreed
at Laeken, so that negotiations with the best prepared candidates
can finish this year, allowing them to participate in the 2004
European Parliament elections.
11. The Commission will present its report
on an enlargement Communications Strategy, to publicise the benefits
of enlargement. We support the Commission's work.
12. On Cyprus, we want Seville to reaffirm
the EU's support for the continuing UN settlement process; recall
the EU's preference to decide at Copenhagen to admit a united
island; and reiterate the conclusions of the Helsinki European
Councilthat a political settlement would facilitate accession,
but would not be a pre-condition for it.
13. We want Seville to welcome Turkey's
progress towards fulfilling the Copenhagen criteria, and to encourage
further efforts, in line with the Accession Partnership.
14. Seville is the last European Council
before the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) in Johannesburg
(26 August-6 September). We want Seville to agree:
our priorities for the WSSD: improving
access to safe drinking water, sanitation, energy services, and
coherent management of the oceans, showing that we want to make
globalisation work for sustainable development, especially for
the poorest, and in particular that sustainable development will
benefit from the new WTO negotiations and the commitments made
at Monterrey on increased aid;
an external dimension to the EU's
own Sustainable Development Strategy, focusing on developing country
concerns: access to EU markets, and greater coherence between
the EU's internal and external policies.
15. We expect Seville to endorse the 2002
Broad Economic Policy Guidelines (BEPGs) following agreement of
the text by an ECOFIN Council on 20 June. We want conclusions
from Seville highlighting the need for stronger macroeconomic
performance across the EU, and for continued economic reform,
to promote more and better jobs, enhance productivity and promote
16. Seville will take stock of negotiations
on the Tax package launched at the Feira European Council in 2000.
We strongly support the package.
17. To maintain the momentum in implementing
the Financial Services Action Plan, we want Seville to focus on
the need to cut costs for firms accessing capital, and to offer
consumers and investors more choice and lower prices. The conclusions
should also note recent progress by ECOFIN in reaching political
agreement on the following elements of the Plan: the Financial
Conglomerates, Market Abuse and Supplementary Pension Directives.
18. We expect Seville to endorse a new eEurope
Action Plan 2005, to follow on from the current eEurope strategy,
which comes to an end this year. The Barcelona European Council
agreed that the new Action Plan should focus on increasing the
availability of broadband technologies by 2005, producing a faster,
more interactive and user-friendly Internet. We welcome the new
Action Plan, particularly its proposals for using broadband to
deliver modern online public services.
19. The Commission will submit its Better
Regulation Action Plan which Heads requested at Barcelona. It
contains the key elements we have been calling for, in particular
minimum consultation requirements, and impact assessments for
Commission proposals. Better Regulation is an important part of
the Lisbon and European Governance agendas. We want Seville to
call for the Action Plan's early implementation.
20. Education and training. Seville will
receive the Commission's feasibility report on the proposal, agreed
at Barcelona, to help secondary schools establish ICT twinning
links with schools in other member states (an initiative of the
Prime Minister and Spanish Prime Minister Aznar). It may be asked
to take note of an agreed resolution on lifelong learning.
21. The crisis between India and Pakistan
and continuing tension in the Middle East will certainly be discussed:
the nature of the discussion will depend on events in the interim.
22. Seville will receive a report on the
European Security and Defence Policy (ESDP), which will give an
update of developments on both the military and civilian aspects,
and set out the mandate for the Danish Presidency.
Foreign and Commonwealth Office