Каталог :: Международные отношения

Доклад: General policies of the European Union

Agriculture
On 30 June 1960, the European Commission tabled proposals for the creation of
a common agricultural policy (CAP). CAP is built upon the three pivotal
principles: market unity, Community preference, and financial solidarity.
What are the objectives of the CAP?
i.                     to increase productivity,
ii.                   to ensure a fair standard of living for the
agricultural Community,
iii.                  to stabilize markets,
iv.                 to assure food supplies,
v.                   to provide consumers with food at reasonable prices,
·        It recognises the need to take account of the social structure of
agriculture and of the structural and natural disparities between the various
agricultural regions and to effect the appropriate adjustments by degrees.
Economic and monetary policy
The economies of the EU's Member States are becoming extraordinarily
intertwined thanks to the single market. More than 60% of their trade is with
each other, their companies are linked by a myriad of joint ventures, common
ownerships and cooperation agreements, their banks, insurance companies and
accountancy firms can operate freely across national borders and ordinary
citizens can open bank accounts in any Member State and move capital around
the Union as they wish.
But the full benefits of economic integration - faster economic growth,
better job creation and wider choice for consumers - are still not being
delivered to citizens as well as they should be. Part of the reason is the
existence of 15 different currencies. Despite the success of the European
Monetary System in promoting currency stability since 1979, events in 1992
and 1993 demonstrated that currencies are always vulnerable to sudden and
disruptive movements.
Instability discourages investment partly because currency markets tend to
'overshoot' and fix values either higher or lower than is justified by real
economic circumstances. Europe's many currencies tend to increase the costs
of travel and tourism and are a financial burden to companies which operate
in more than one Member State. Nor is it easy to make a comparison between
prices in these countries which means that the consumer is not greatly
encouraged to buy in the cheapest market.
These are some of the reasons why the Union is aiming for economic and
monetary union (EMU) by 1999. The original Rome Treaty had very little to say
about money because stable currencies were largely taken for granted, thanks
to the Bretton Woods system which had erected the US dollar as the dominant
monetary standard.
During the Community's first 35 years, coordination was more virtual than
real; the Commission analysed the economic situation and produced its policy
recommendations, but each Member State was entirely free to determine its own
priorities.
Now, they are steering their economies towards common objectives, partly
because that is the best way to prepare for EMU and partly because they know
that financial markets punish countries whose policies are not particularly
sound. Currencies are driven downwards and interest rates upwards - penalties
which can damage prospects for lasting economic growth and job creation.
·        Economic policies coordination
·        Financial integration
·        Laws and procedures
                         Economic policies coordination                         
The Treaty now requires Member States to regard their economic policies 'as a
matter of common concern' and to coordinate them within the Council of
Ministers. The policy framework is established at the highest political level
of the Union - the Heads of State or Government meeting as the European
Council.
In order to qualify for membership of EMU, the Treaty requires Member States
to aim for certain targets for their budget deficits, public debt, inflation,
and interest rates and exchange rates. Since inflation, interest and exchange
rates are crucially influenced by the size of budget deficits, special
surveillance procedures are applied by the Council and the Commission.
Under the 'excessive deficit' procedure, as it is known, the focus is on a
country's total outstanding public debt as a percentage of its gross domestic
product (GDP) and on its budget deficit as a percentage of GDP. The targets
laid down in a protocol to the Treaty are 60% of GDP for outstanding debt and
3% for the annual budget deficit.
                              Financial integration                              
The main barriers to integrating these markets were exchange controls
(regulating the import and export of capital) and different regulatory
frameworks in the Member States which were a barrier to the supply of such
services as banking, insurance and accounting across national borders.
Regulations and restrictions had tended to limit the efficiency of these
sectors in many Member States and, therefore, add to their costs.
The Union's strategy for the liberalization of financial services has
followed three paths:
·        removing exchange controls;
·        harmonizing essential regulations combined with mutual recognition
of other national regulations. In the case of banking, this means that banks
can operate across border under the supervision of their national home
country authorities;
·        harmonising of tax rates.
Exchange controls have been removed and financial services deregulated but
little progress has been made in the harmonization of tax rates. The fact
that Council decisions on tax rates must be taken unanimously, the importance
of the national interests at stake and the wide differences in national
taxation systems have been powerful constraints on the Commission's efforts
to move harmonisation forward.
                               Laws and procedures                               
     Role of the Council of Ministers: the European Council sets macroeconomic
policy guidelines; 0the Council of Economics and Finance Ministers adopts
legislative instruments, drafts policy guidelines and coordinates macroeconomic
policies.
     Role of the European Parliament: the Parliament debates economic policies
and issues reports and recommendations.
     Role of the European Commission: proposes legislation and policy
initiatives. Monitors Member States' economic policies and proposes
macroeconomic policy guidelines and recommendations under the excessive deficit
procedure. Participates in the G7 meetings of the world's leading industrial
powers.
External relations
By negotiating as one, the Member States of the European Union have achieved
far more success in promoting free trade in the world than they could have
done by operating as single countries. In the process, they have opened many
markets for their companies and secured many jobs for their people. The EU is
the world's largest trade grouping and its exports support one job in 10 in
the Member States.
                               Laws and procedures                               
     Legislative procedures: important international trade agreements are
adopted by the Council and require the assent of the European Parliament.
Association agreements need the assent of the Parliament before they can be
implemented.
     Role of the European Commission: on a mandate approved by the Council, 
it negotiates multilateral external commercial agreements in the World Trade
Organization as well as bilateral arrangements, applies EU trade legislation,
proposes new legislation.
United States
The EU and the United States form a global partnership, covering not only
trade and economics but also cooperation on a whole range of foreign policy
issues and global challenges.
The economic relationship between the two is characterized by close economic
interdependence. The EU and United States are each other's most important
partners in trade and investment. Bilateral trade flows in goods and services
amounted to ECU 200 billion and total transatlantic investment was ECU 365
billion in 1994. More than three million jobs on either side of the Atlantic
depend on this investment.
The Presidents of the United States, the Commission and the European Council
meet every six months, as do the Commission and the US Government at
ministerial level.
Canada
Links between Europe and Canada have traditionally been close, fortified in
particular by Canada's membership of NATO. Bilateral trade exceeds ECU 19
billion and the EU is the second most popular destination for Canadian
foreign investment after the United States.
Regular summit meetings now take place between the Presidents of the European
Council, the Commission and the Canadian Prime Minister. In the coming years,
the relationship is expected to undergo further political development.
Japan
This bilateral relationship has been dominated for years by the Union's trade
deficit with Tokyo. Japan exports to Europe are almost 50% higher than
European exports to Japan. While keeping up pressure on Japan to remove non-
tariff barriers, the Union has also sought to deepen and extend cooperation
beyond the field of trade. A joint declaration on EU-Japan relations in 1991
lists shared objectives in the political and economic fields and establishes
a consultation framework including annual meetings between the Presidents of
the European Council and the Commission, and the Japanese Prime Minister.
Cooperation between the Union and Japan now takes place across a wide range
of areas, including science and technology, competition policy, development
assistance, environmental policy, industrial policy, industrial cooperation,
macroeconomic and financial affairs and transport.
               Countries of the southern and eastern Mediterranean               
Relations with the 12 Mediterranean countries with which the EU has
association or cooperation agreements are being relaunched on the basis of a
partnership declaration adopted by both sides in Barcelona in November 1995.
This lays the basis for closer political cooperation and the EU's broadly-
based efforts to promote development in the Mediterranean region which
include industrial cooperation, encouraging direct investment and creating
networks between universities and other social institutions
The declaration also sets the ambitious target of a free trade zone by 2010
between the Union and the Mediterranean countries represented in Barcelona:
Algeria, Morocco, Tunisia, Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, the Palestinian
autonomous territories, Syria, Turkey, Cyprus and Malta.
                 Countries of Central and Eastern Europe (CEECs)                 
The collapse of communism led to a surge in the relations between the Union
and most of the CEECs, including the signing of association agreements, the
so-called 'Europe Agreements'. Currently, there are nine such agreements. Six
are in force involving Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Romania
and Slovakia, while those with Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania are awaiting
ratification (a tenth has been initialled with Slovenia).
These agreements give the signatories associate status and cover both
political and economic relations. They establish regular and intensive
political dialogue, progressive economic integration and financial
assistance. They are of unlimited duration and allow the CEECs up to 10 years
to remove economic and commercial barriers, while Union restrictions on the
import of their industrial goods was removed by 1 January 1995 with some
exemptions.
Russia
The EU is Russia's largest trading partner by far, accounting for close to
40% of the latter's foreign trade. When the Russian and EU national
parliaments have finally ratified it, future political and economic relations
will be governed by a partnership and cooperation agreement signed in 1994.
This establishes a political dialogue at all levels, regulates the trade in
nuclear fuels, allows free EU investment in Russia with full repatriation of
profits, liberalizes the activities of foreign banks in Russia, removes all
EU quotas on Russian exports apart from certain textile and steel products
and allows temporary Russian quotas on some EU imports.
At their meeting in Madrid in December 1995, the European Council asserted
that good relations between the EU and a democratic Russia 'are essential to
stability in Europe'. The Heads of State or Government said the EU would:
·        contribute to Russia's democratic reforms;
·        support Russia's economic reforms, her integration into the
international economy, the development of trade and investment and the
necessary conditions for the future establishment of a free trade area
between Russia and the EU;
·        take into account Russia's concerns about NATO enlargement;
·        support peaceful settlement of disputes in the CIS area.
     TACIS: the EU's future relationship with Russia is being vitally shaped
by the TACIS programme, designed to help her make the transition from a
centrally planned to a market economy. TACIS projects involve, among other
things, help in the restructuring of State enterprises and private sector
development, reform of public administration, raising agricultural efficiency
and supporting improvements in the safety of nuclear power plants.
The new independent States (NIS)
Relations with these republics of the former Soviet Union are increasingly
regulated by partnership and cooperation agreements whose scope is political,
economic, commercial and cultural. They aim to pave the way for the
integration of these countries into the wider European economy. In the last
two years such agreements have been signed with Russia, Ukraine, Moldova,
Kyrgyzstan, Belarus, Kazakhstan,Georgia, Armenia, and Azerbaijan.
The European free trade area (EFTA)
On 1 January 1994, the European Economic Area was born (EEA). Following
enlargement of the EU on 1 January 1995 with the accession of Austria,
Finland and Sweden, this joins together in one single market the EU's 15
members with three remaining members of EFTA, Iceland, Liechtenstein and
Norway (Switzerland is also in EFTA but has not signed the EEA Agreement).
Among other things, the EEA agreement grants the three partner countries the
four freedoms of the single market - the free movement of goods, services,
capital and people and requires them to adopt most EU policies on mergers,
state aids, consumer protection, labour markets and the environment.
China
In 1995, China became the Union's fourth largest export market and its fourth
largest supplier. Total bilateral trade reached around ECU 35 billion in
1994, with the EU's imports exceeding exports by around ECU 10 billion. China
is the Union's largest supplier of textiles and clothing.
Korea
A framework trade and cooperation agreement was negotiated in 1995 to promote
closer economic relations and exchanges of information and mutually
beneficial investment. In addition, the EU is contributing to the Korean
Peninsula Energy Development Organization in support of the search for peace
and stability in the region. Bilateral trade between the EU and Korea is in
the region of ECU 15 billion.
Other Asian countries
The 25-nation summit in Bangkok between European and Asian leaders at the
beginning of March 1996 was a major step towards widening and deepening the
dialogue between the two regions. The meeting brought together the 15 EU
members with the seven members of ASEAN as well as China, Japan and Vietnam.
It will be followed by a similar meeting in the United Kingdom in 1998 and
another in South Korea in 2000.
Other initiatives agreed in Bangkok include preparing an Asia-Europe
investment promotion action plan, creating an Asia-Europe business forum,
setting up an Asia-Europe environment technology centre to support joint
research and development in this area and launching an Asia-Europe Foundation
to promote cultural exchanges of all kinds between the different
participating countries.
Asian countries are the largest beneficiaries of the Union's generalized
system of preferences (GSP) scheme which has been in operation since 1971 and
allows imports from developing countries to enter the Union either duty-free
or at reduced tariff rates.
Australia and New Zealand
The political dialogue with Australia has been strengthened in recent years
to the extent that there are usually two ministerial-level meetings a year
between the two aides. A European Parliament delegation visits Australia
every two years while an Australian parliamentary group visits Europe every
year.
The EU is Australia's most important economic partner taking into account the
volume of trade in goods and services and exchanges of investment. Meanwhile,
bilateral cooperation covers science and technology, industrial cooperation,
coordination of development aid in the Pacific region and energy and
environmental matters.
Cooperation between the EU and New Zealand is based on preferential
agreements, largely focused on agricultural products. Thus, butter and lamb
imports into the EU from New Zealand have enjoyed preferential access for
many years. In 1991, the two sides signed a scientific and technical
cooperation agreement covering agriculture, biomass, biotechnology,
environment, forests, renewable sources of energy and information
technologies.
     Developing countries
     The African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP)
Seventy ACP countries are signatories to the fourth Lomé Convention (the
first was launched in 1975 and the present Convention runs until 2000) which
frees 99.5% of their exports to the Union from customs duties and does not
require them to make balancing concessions. Funds allocated for development aid
totalled ECU 12 billion for 1990-95.
Latin America
All Latin American countries benefit from the generalized system of
preferences while 14 countries are covered by specific regional economic and
trade cooperation agreements. Trade between the EU and Latin America is worth
more than ECU 45 billion and the region has been one of the fastest growing
markets for European exports. Trade with the EU accounts for more than 20% of
total Latin American imports and exports, but it is less than 5% of the
Union's external trade.
Common foreign and security policy
World events are constantly challenging the Union to act with the
determination and cohesion expected of a world entity of its population size
and economic strength. The Treaty on European Union, which came into force in
November 1993, responded by fixing as a Union objective 'the implementation
of a common foreign and security policy including the eventual framing of a
common defence policy'.
The Treaty says that the objectives of a CFSP are:
·        to safeguard the common values, fundamental interests and
independence of the Union;
·        to strengthen the security of the Union and its Member States in all
ways;
·        to preserve peace and strengthen international security, in
accordance with the principles of the United Nations Charter as well as the
principles of the Helsinki Final Act and the objectives of the Paris Charter;
·        to promote international cooperation;
·        to develope and consolidate democracy and the rule of law, and
respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms.
The common foreign and security policy and its instruments
     Decision-making - it is the European Council of Heads of State or
Government and the Council of Ministers which have overall control: the
European Council only defines the principles and general guidelines for CFSP.
However, the European Commission participates in all discussions, as well as
the European Parliament, but it has no direct powers.
     Common positions - once a common position has been defined by the
Council, Member States must ensure that their national policies conform to it.
     Joint actions - these commit the Member States to acting in a certain way
in support of a common position. These included the convoying of humanitarian
aid in Bosnia-Herzegovina and sending observers to parliamentary elections in
Russia. The Stability Pact for Central Europe, was the result of a successful
joint action.
     Enlarging the European Union
The Commission has begun an analytical examination of the "acquis
communautaire" on 3 April 1998 with the countries with which negotiations
have not yet started: Bulgaria, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania and Slovak
Republic.
The accession to the European Union of the candidate countries of central and
eastern Europe requires the strengthening of their institutional and
administrative capacity. These countries must establish a modern, efficient
administration that is capable of applying the acquis communautaire to the
same standards as the current Member States.
While support for investment will help candidate countries bring their
economic and social structures into line with Community standards, it will
not be sufficient to prepare them for EU membership. Institution building
will help them to reinforce their institutional and administrative capacity
to the point where they are ready to take on the obligations of membership
and to get the most out of joining the EU. Institution building means
developing the structures, human resources and management skills needed to
implement the acquis. Institution building also means opening Community
programmes, such as Leonardo, Socrates, etc., to the participation of the
candidate countries.
On March 25, 1998, the European Commission approved Accession Partnerships
for the 10 applicant countries of Central and Eastern Europe (CEEC's). Each
Accession Partnership (AP) will help applicants to achieve such objectives as
strengthening democracy and the rule of law, protection of minorities,
economic reform, reinforcement of institutional and administrative capacity,
preparation for full participation in the internal market, justice and home
affairs, agriculture, environment, transport, employment and social affairs,
regional policy and cohesion.
Culture
Forty years of working together, first within the European Community and then
the European Union, has made Europeans increasingly aware of their common
culture.
The new Treaty introduced as an objective of EU action 'a contribution to
education and training of quality and to the flowering of the cultures of the
Member States', encouraging cooperation between Member States in the areas
of:
·        improvement of the knowledge and dissemination of the culture and
history of the European peoples;
·        conservation and safeguarding of cultural heritage of European
significance;
·        non-commercial cultural exchanges;
·        artistic and literary creation, including in the audiovisual sector.
The Treaty also said that the Union should take cultural aspects into account
in its other actions under the Treaty.
Growing achievements
Practical achievements in the field of culture are growing in number and
significance. The Commission has proposed three action programmes: 
Kaleidoscope, which promotes artistic and cultural activities, entered into
force in March 1996, the Ariane programme, devoted to books and
reading, and the Raphael programme which concerns cultural heritage,
both currently being discussed within the Community institutions.
Actions in 1995 included awarding ECU 4.7 million to 100 projects for the
restoration of religious monuments and contributions to training schemes in
conservation and restoration. The Commission also assisted the translation of
85 works by European authors, with special priority being given to
translation into less-widely-spoken languages.
     Previous actions worthy of mention are:
The protection of architectural heritage
·        pilot projects to conserve the Community's architectural heritage;
·        the funding of work on the restoration of European monuments and
sites of exceptional historical importance;
·        grants for training in restoration and conservation;
·        support for cultural events connected with the protection of
cultural heritage.
The promotion of cultural and artistic creativity and cooperation
·        The Kaleidoscope pilot scheme and, since 1996, the Kaleidoscope
programme to support cultural activities of European dimension (cultural
events, encouragement of artistic creation, cultural coopeation network).
·        The European City of Culture (Copenhagen 1996, Thessaloniki 1997)
and the European Cultural Month (St Petersburg 1996, Ljubljana 1997),
established in 1985 and in 1990 respectively by the EU Ministers for Culture,
aim at helping to bring the people of Europe closer together and to improve
public access to cultural aspects of the city, region and country concerned.
·        The European Union Youth Orchestra and the European Union Baroque
Orchestra, set up in 1976 and in 1985 respectively, provide training to young
musicians and are the ambassadors of European culture through their
international tours.
The promotion of books and reading
·        Support for contemporary literary translation.
·        Support for cooperation projects to promote books and reading in
Europe.
·        The European literature prize and European translation prize -
Aristeion Prize.
·        Grants and travelling expenses for courses at colleges for literary
translators.
     The promotion of the European audiovisual sector:
This recorded its first practical achievement with the 'Television Without
Frontiers' Directive, which lays down the minimum requirements for the free
movement of television programmes within the EU. The MEDIA programme promotes
the development of Europe's audiovisual industry.
     Objectives of European Investment Bank
·        fostering the economic development of the less favoured regions;
·        improving European transport and telecommunications infrastructure;
·        protecting the environment and the quality of life, promoting urban
development and safeguarding the Community's architectural and natural
heritage;
·        attaining Community energy policy objectives;
·        enhancing the international competitiveness of industry;
·        supporting the activities of small and medium-sized enterprises;
·        extending and modernising infrastructure in the health and education
sectors as well as assisting urban renewal, under the Amsterdam Special
Action Programme in support of growth and employment.
     Outside the Union, the EIB supports the Union's cooperation and
development aid policies in over 120 countries in Africa, the Caribbean and the
Pacific, the Mediterranean area, Central and Eastern Europe, Asia and Latin
America.