17 September 1992
on the political consequences of the Maastricht Treaty
(the European Community after the Maastricht and
(Rapporteur: Mr PANGALOS, Greece, PASOK)
The Treaty on European Union signed in Maastricht on 7 February 1992 constitutes a major step in the progress of member states of the Community towards union. Despite the Danish no-vote to ratification of the Treaty, this latter should enter into force on 1 January 1992.
Implementation of the Treaty faces the Community with three main issues: enlargement to include new members, negotiations concerning new financial prospects and the establishment of a foreign and security policy.
The entry into force of the Treaty will have political consequences not only for the Twelve but for all European states.
The Assembly therefore considers it necessary to assess these consequences, particularly with regard to the establishment of a common foreign and security policy, the relations between the enlarged Community, the Western European Union and the Council of Europe as well as economic and social cohesion throughout the continent.
I. DRAFT RESOLUTION
1. The Assembly considers that the Treaty on European Union signed in Maastricht on 7 February 1992 constitutes a major step in the progress of member states of the Community towards union.
2. The achievement of economic and monetary union, the adoption of common policies for realising the Single Market while guaranteeing economic and social cohesion, the institution of a common citizenship and formulation of a common foreign policy are the fundamental components of European Union.
3. Implementation of the Maastricht Treaty on European Union faces the Community with three main issues: enlargement to include new members, negotiations concerning new financial prospects and the establishment of a foreign and security policy.
4. Despite the Danish no-vote, the Twelve confirmed at the European Council meeting in Lisbon their determination to comply with the commitments undertaken in Maastricht and to work in the spirit of the new Treaty in order to achieve European Union. The date of 1 January 1993 has been set for the entry into force of the Treaty, but how Denmark will participate in the Union still remains to be decided.
5. The Twelve decided in Lisbon that negotiations for enlargement of the Community to include applicant countries which are members of the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) could begin as soon as the Treaty on Union had entered into force and agreement reached on the future financing of the Community. No timetable was set for considering other applications.
6. Future financing of the Community poses problem for the so-called "rich" and "poor" countries. The latter fear that resources for the Structural Funds and the Cohesion Fund will not reach the level fixed at Maastricht.
7. The "subsidiarity" principle, according to which the Community is to take action in areas which do not fall within its exclusive competence only if the objectives of the proposed action cannot be achieved by the member states, should allow Community bureaucracy to be reduced and the Community to be closer to its citizens.
8. Absence of agreement between all twelve member states on the social policy of the Community creates difficulties for the implementation of the Community Charter of the fundamental social rights of workers and, consequently, the progress of the "social dimension" of the future European union.
9. As shown by the crisis in the former Yugoslavia, the establishment of a common foreign and security policy is the most difficult task facing the member states of the Community. Furthermore, the fact that this policy has been placed outside the institutional framework of the Community excludes control and political initiative by the European Parliament.
10. The entry into force of the Treaty on European Union will have political consequences not only for the Twelve but for all European states.
11. The Assembly invites the parliaments of member states to assess the consequences of the entry into force of the Treaty of Maastricht particularly with regard to:
i. the establishment of a foreign and security policy that is common to the Twelve;
ii. the enlargement of the Community and relations between the enlarged Community, the Western European Union and the Council of Europe;
iii. European citizenship, which is restricted at present to nationals of the Twelve;
iv. the role and powers of the European Parliament and the European Commission;
v. economic and social cohesion throughout the continent.
II. EXPLANATORY MEMORANDUM
by Mr PANGALOS
1. Implementation of the Maastricht Treaty on European Union faces the Community with several major issues:
- the process of ratification of the new Treaty,
- the enlargement to include new members,
- the negotiation of the second Delors package,
- implementation of the common foreign and security policy,
- the social aspect.
I. Progress towards European union and the process of ratification of the Maastricht Treaty
2. The impact of Denmark's no-vote in the referendum on ratification of the Maastricht Treaty has been somewhat softened by the yes-vote in Ireland's referendum. The process still has a long way to go, of course. Ten states still have to express a view on the new Treaty. Of these, France has opted to hold a referendum. Despite recent surveys, which indicate growing support for the Treaty, there are still disagreements among the French political parties, leaving the outcome of the autumn referendum in doubt.
3. Meanwhile, at the meeting of their Ministers for Foreign Affairs in Oslo, the Twelve reaffirmed their determination to pursue the course charted at Maastricht and implement the new Treaty as nearly on schedule as possible. The fear was expressed at that meeting that finding an appropriate solution to the Danish question might mean that the Treaty came into force a little later than planned.
4. The reaffirmation of the will of the Twelve to press ahead, with ratification of the new Treaty as soon as possible was the most noteworthy feature of the European Summit in Lisbon.
5. It was necessary to allay the fears caused by the Danish no-vote, which the Irish result alone could not do, lest the Community enter a new era of Euro-pessimism.
6. In the preamble to the text of the conclusions adopted in Lisbon, the European Council explicitly affirmed its determination to respect the Maastricht commitments and work in the spirit of the new Treaty to achieve European union.
7. At the Lisbon meeting, the Twelve also fixed a date. The Treaty should enter into force on 1 January 1993 at the latest, by which time it is hoped that either Denmark will have changed its mind, possibly in a second referendum, or that an innovatory solution can be found so that the "twelve passengers stay in the train" as Mr Kohl expressed it. Now this solution could not go beyond a simple declaration spelling out the principle of subsidiarity (see part IV below) and its field of application. A "supplementary protocol" as demanded by some in Denmark, to which the United Kingdom presidency would not be averse, seems unlikely because it is refused by most countries at present, for two reasons:
- the legal validity of a protocol of this type would be open to question, and
- politically it would look too much like a renegotiation of Maastricht which is rejected by public opinion in the other ten countries.
8. The United Kingdom, which has held the presidency of the Community since 1 July 1992 and is looking for a pragmatic solution which will allay Danish fears, sees a possible answer in a clear definition of the concept of subsidiarity, specifying how responsibilities are to be apportioned between Community bodies and states.
9. The climate of uncertainty in the Community, which will continue until ratification procedures have been completed and a solution has been agreed to the Danish question, affects not only the post-Maastricht financial outlook but also the enlargement question.
10. The sweeping political, intellectual and institutional changes which Mr Delors announced to the European Parliament on 7 April have given way to a moderate approach not involving any upheavals for the time being.
11. In Mr Andriessen's view, as expressed to the meeting of Foreign Ministers on 20 June, membership negotiations could begin with applicant countries
- which accept the Community patrimony and the Community's political objectives
- and are in a position to apply that patrimony and keep transitional arrangements to a strict minimum.
The Commission's view is that those two requirements are currently met by the EFTA countries, which means that negotiations can start immediately.
12. Before the Lisbon Summit, the conditions which the Community had to meet before the negotiations could begin was the main point of disagreement between the member states. The United Kingdom, the Netherlands and to some extent Germany believed that the Community was ready to address this new task. Another group of, mainly, southern countries believed (some taking a stronger line than others) that first a satisfactory solution must be found to the Delors package and/or the process of ratification completed before starting negotiations.
13. In the circumstances, it is therefore logical to consider the agreement on a timetable for enlarging the Community to new applicants as one of the important aspects of the conclusions of the Twelve in Lisbon.
14. It is admittedly not a complete timetable but more of an agreement on the timing for the start of accession negotiations with the candidates that seem to be closest to the Community.
15. It has been agreed that negotiations for accession of the EFTA member countries seeking membership of the Union could begin as soon as the Treaty on European Union is in force and an agreement on the future finances of the Community has been adopted.
16. This is a very fine compromise between those like the United Kingdom who want negotiations to be resumed immediately and those who are more cautious and impose certain prerequisites about the extension of the Community's institutional and decision-making system.
17. Under pressure from the United Kingdom, apparently, it has been accepted that preparatory work on the Community's negotiating position may begin even before the Edinburgh Summit.
18. It has however been stressed that after enlargement to include the EFTA countries any further enlargement would necessitate an effort for the internal development of the Community, which signifies in practical terms that a new intergovernmental conference would have to be convened to adjust the Community's institutional framework.
19. With regard to the other candidatures, no specific instructions were given by the twelve heads of state and government.
20. The European Council underlined the will to intensify relations between the Community and Turkey, in the framework of the Association Agreement of 1964.
21. The Lisbon Conclusions also affirm the will of the Twelve to develop and strengthen relations with Cyprus and Malta by building on existing agreements and on the respective applications for membership.
22. Lastly, as regards relations with Central and Eastern Europe, the European Council instructed the Commission to present at the Edinburgh Summit precise proposals relating to measures for the future accession of these countries. A first group of candidates including Hungary, Poland and the Czech and Slovak Federal Republic seems to have some priority in Community preoccupations.
III. Negotiation of the second Delors package
23. If Europe is to be seen as maintaining its momentum, it is essential for an acceptable solution to be agreed on the various ingredients of the second Delors package. As the Community's original proposals were not acceptable to the four poorest countries in the Community, Mr Delors put forward further compromise proposals at the meeting of Foreign Ministers on 20 June 1992.
24. The reaction of the Community's eight wealthiest countries to the package was relief, while Spain, Portugal, Greece and Ireland voiced total disapproval.
25. The main proposal in the revised package is that the next stage in development of Community finances be spread over seven years (1993-99) instead of the five originally planned (1993-97). In the first two years there would be no change in own resources, the upper limit of 1,2% of GNP being maintained until the end of 1994. The Council would then decide whether to raise the limit in order to generate more resources.
26. The Community's structural expenditure will be the main victim of the new financial proposals, since there will no longer be a doubling of funds for Objective 1 countries. Agricultural spending and some internal policy areas will likewise suffer cuts.
27. Obviously such an approach is quite unacceptable to around half the member countries. The requirements of progress towards economic and monetary Union and the target of political union set by Maastricht face the Community with a huge task of promoting social as well as economic convergence.
28. The proceedings of the European Council in Lisbon were also characterised by a clear confrontation between the "rich" and "poor" of the Community on the question of future financing.
29. The Commission's initial proposals for the second Delors package were not accepted by the "rich" countries of the Community as the basis for holding negotiations, and the Twelve therefore debated a compromise proposal presented by Mr Delors. It was then the four countries of the south which rejected the compromise, stressing the need to comply fully with the commitment regarding cohesion made in Maastricht.
30. In an effort to find a text acceptable to all, the conclusions of the presidency were limited to general principles and guidelines for the pursuit of negotiations in this sphere.
31. In keeping with these principles, it was been decided that the Cohesion Fund would become operational early in 1993 in those member states where GNP per inhabitant was less than 90% of the Community average, that is Greece, Ireland, Spain and Portugal.
32. For the regions concerned in those countries, the cumulative effect of the Structural Funds and the Cohesion Fund will be at a level in keeping with the Maastricht commitments.
33. It is clear at this stage that doubling structural fund resources for the least prosperous regions of the Community (Objective 1 regions in Community parlance) as provided in the Commission's initial proposals will be very difficult to achieve.
34. The Conclusions make no specific reference to the Community's own resources and this is obviously a further point which will be keenly debated in the Council of Ministers.
35. Whether it likes it or not, the United Kingdom presidency will therefore have to find a solution to this tricks issue, since the Lisbon Summit also decided that the European Council must reach agreement on all the components of the Delors II package in Edinburgh.
36. The United Kingdom presidency can therefore be expected to show considerable assiduity in the negotiations on the future finances of the Community.
37. A further aspect of the work at the Lisbon Summit deserves to be underlined, namely the concept of "subsidiarity". This key word, included vaguely in the Maastricht Treaty, now needs to be better defined and clarified in order to become operational.
38. The idea at the basis of the concept is that the Community shall take action only if and in so far as the objectives of the proposed action can be better achieved at the Community level than at the level of the member states working alone (see Article 3.b of the Maastricht Treaty).
39. Now there are several interpretations of this concept, some of which are really restrictive and advocate limiting Community action to the strict minimum necessary.
40. Although all member states recognise the need to reduce Community bureaucracy in order to bring the Community closer to its citizens and instill in them the feeling that they are truly participating in the process of building Europe, it is clear that the interpretation to be given to the "subsidiarity" principle must not become an obstacle to the future development of Community action.
V. Common foreign and security policy
41. Implementation of the Maastricht Treaty as regards development of common foreign and security policy which might eventually lead to a common security, represents the most difficult part of building the European Union.
42. The manner in which the Community has recently dealt with foreign policy issues - Yugoslavia is a very typical example - demonstrates the urgency of translating into action the intentions set down in the Maastricht Treaty.
43. To that end it is essential to specify in what fields the European union would take joint action. Member countries have of course already reached preliminary agreement on a number of areas of joint action. Central and Eastern Europe, Russia, the former Soviet Republics and the Balkans countries come high on the list.
44. In addition, work has begun on drawing up provisions governing relations between the European union and the Western European Union (WEU) with a view to the latter becoming the former's organ on matters of common security.
45. The Lisbon Summit gave the Twelve the opportunity to reaffirm their will to achieve as far as possible a homogeneous approach when it comes to tackling major international problems. They thus,
- adopted a number of measures for placing pressure on Serbia and indicated that the Community was ready to seek a solution - if necessary a military solution - to the humanitarian problems created by the siege of Sarajevo,
- adopted a common position regarding recognition of the "former Yugoslavia Republic of Macedonia" within its existing borders "under a name which does not include Macedonia",
- sought to find a doctrine which would acknowledge both recognition of the aspirations of peoples to self-determination and the protection of national and religious minorities and the need to safeguard peace by guaranteeing existing recognised frontiers.
VI. The social aspect
46. The question of procedures for application of the Community Charter of the fundamental social rights of workers remains pending in view of the United Kingdom's non-participation. Opinions differ on the strategy to adopt. Nevertheless it is certain that acceptance of the exceptional status of the United Kingdom regarding social policy is a flagrant case of adopting a "two-speed" or "variable geometry" tactic.
Reporting committee: Political Affairs Committee.
Budgetary implications for the Assembly: None.
Reference to committee: Doc. 6520, Reference No. 1760 of 25 November 1991.
Draft resolution: Unanimously adopted by the committee on 10 September 1992.
Members of the committee: MM. Reddemann (Chairman), Sir Dudley Smith (Vice-Chairman) (Alternate: Sir Anthony Durant), Mrs Baarveld-Schlaman (Vice-Chairman), MM. Alvarez Cascos (Alternate: de Puig), Antretter, Baumel, Björn Bjarnason, Bokov, Bratinka, Caro, Cem (Alternate: Maruflu), Cimoszewicz (Alternate: Iwinski), Espersen, Fahey (Alternate: Nolan), Lord Finsberg, MM. Fioret, Fiorini, Flückiger, Gabbuggiani, Galanos (Alternate: Hadjidemetriou), Mrs Haller, Mrs Halonen, MM. Hardy, Hellström, Irmer, Kelchtermans, König, Mrs Lentz-Cornette, MM. van den Linden, Machete, Martins, Masseret, Mimaroglu (Alternate: Güner), Moya, Oehry, Pangalos, Panov, Papadogonas, Psaila Savona, Schieder, Sebej, Seeuws, Simko, Mrs Suchoka, MM. Szent-Ivanyi, Tarschys, Thoresen, N... (Alternate: Mezzapesa).
N.B.: The names of those members who took part in the vote are underlined.
Secretaries to the committee: MM. Sorinas and Kleijssen.