Gothenburg Summit focuses on enlargement and environment

European leaders meet in Gothenburg to discuss
expansion, environment and EU reforms amidst fears that Irish
rejection of Nice Treaty will sidetrack
enlargement

Enlargement:

The leaders will try to persuade the Central and East
European candidate countries of their undiminished support
for the EU’s eastward expansion. The Swedish Presidency is
pushing for precise enlargement timetables to show that the
Irish rejection of the Nice Treaty will not delay the
enlargement process.

Environment:

The summiteers will discuss the Commission’s proposals on
sustainable development that defines a strategy for
reconciling economic growth, social cohesion and
environmental protection. However, the EU’s attempts to
promote good environmental practice have been undermined by
the US administration’s decision to pull out of the Kyoto
agreement on global warming.

Future of Europe:

The summit is expected to prepare ground for the start of
another round of reforms of the EU aimed at redefining the
role of the EU institutions and their relations with
national authorities. Gothenburg is the half-way point in
this preparatory process that will lead to a declaration on
the future of the EU at the Laeken Summit in December.

Irish rejection of the Nice Treaty:

The leaders will discuss the ways of coming out of this
institutional impasse. Ireland plans to organise a second
referendum after next year’s general election. However, a
potential second rejection would have disastrous
consequences for the EU. Nevertheless, the Member States
have no intention of reopening the Treaty, as EU foreign
ministers stated at their meeting before the Summit.

Macedonia:

The EU wishes to prevent another ethnic war from flaring up
in the Balkans. Its efforts focus on promoting dialogue
between the Macedonian and ethnic Albanian parties. The
EU’s foreign and security policy chief Javier Solana is
visiting Skopje before the Summit to put pressure on
Macedonia’s leaders and ethnic Albanian extremists. The EU
currently has no rapid reaction force capability to help
Macedonians stop the armed insurgence threatening to
destabilise the region.

 

Swedish Foreign Minister Anna Lindh told the European
Parliament on 13 June that the Summit should:

  • give clear signals for how enlargement is to
    proceed;
  • make clear that the Treaty of Nice will be
    implemented, and ratification will proceed;
  • get the EU established among the citizens, also using
    the debate on the future of Europe.

Commission President Romano Prodi called
for a Convention, in which representatives of the Member
States and elected members of both national and European
parliaments would work together to revise the EU treaties.
On enlargement, President Prodi said the Summit should give
the necessary guidance for completing the negotiations. He
stressed the importance of the reunification of Europe. He
emphasised the EU-Russia agreement to begin work on
creating a "common European economic space", whereby Russia
could adopt the euro for its commercial and financial
transactions. A similar EU strategy towards Ukraine is
planned.

The European Parliament adopted a
resolution on the Gothenburg Summit:

  • The resolution urges the leaders to speed up
    enlargement negotiations.
  • It calls for a wide public debate before further
    reform of the Treaties, and for a Convention to steer
    this process.
  • It urges the leaders to reconfirm their commitment to
    the Kyoto protocol on climate change and to seek to bring
    the US administration back on board.
  • It urges the Summit to take all necessary steps to
    ameliorate the situation in Macedonia and the Middle
    East.

 

European Union leaders meet for a European Council meeting
on 15-16 June in Gothenburg, Sweden, to discuss
enlargement, sustainable development and the future of the
EU. However, the agenda will be hijacked by damage control
after Ireland's rejection of the Nice Treaty at a
referendum, and by attempts to avert a civil war looming in
Macedonia.

 

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