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European Union Enlargement : Still Positive after Nice….
By BIK CHEEMA 18/01/01
The Treaty of Nice represented enormous progress for the enlargement of the European Union. To put it one way, ‘if no treaty was reached at Nice, there would be no enlargement in the near future.’ It is the Media who have blurred the issue, mistaking the conference’s failure as ‘Enlargement’ when it’s real failure was for the Institutions of the European Union: This is primarily because the ‘blocking threshold’ was lowered, making it easier to prevent the workings of the European Union’ Institutions. However, what the various reports from within the Media failed to acknowledge is that if the Treaty of Nice had been blocked, this would have had the effect of stalling enlargement of the European Union for another three-to-four years. In actual fact, accession to the European Union by states such as Poland, Hungary, Estonia, Romania, Czech Republic, Slovenia, Slovakia, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Turkey and Cyprus, will realistically occur in January 2004, and for those who are very optimistic, as early as July 2003.
The pure fact therefore, that the Nice Treaty is in existence, is extremely positive for enlargement. A contrary scenario would have been unacceptable to those states who in seeking accession, have participated in over ten years of discussions since the falling of the Berlin Wall. Hence, Head’s of State from several pre-existing European Union members, whilst disagreeing with much of the content within the Treaty of Nice, agreed to sign it in order not to send us back to ‘square-one’ on the issue of Enlargement.
The major issue with regard to enlargement now, is the same issue as when I wrote last….Timing: The European Parliament may or may not approve the Nice Treaty. Legally, their approval is not required. However, when it comes to Member State ratification: (Step three), states such as Italy and Belgium historically only ratify if the European Parliament approve first. Recent signs as to whether or not the European Parliament will approve the Nice Treaty are good: Last week, the leadership of the ‘European People’s Party’, (EPP-Faction of Conservative Parties in the European Parliament), had their annual meeting in Berlin and unanimously voted in favour of the Nice Treaty. In order to achieve European Parliament approval, 50% of the Parliament’ members need to vote positively. The ‘European People’s Party’(EPP), contain 232 members of the 626 member-strong European Parliament. Therefore, the fact that they voted in favour of Nice is a positive signal for European Parliament approval of the Nice Treaty.
After that, the ‘Gothenburg Summit’ in June will take place. The Swedish E.U President has earmarked this Summit as time to fix an ‘informal date’ for European Union Enlargement. No doubt, he is motivated by the fact that Enlargement is one of three ‘Follow-up topics’ during his Presidency. (Employment and The Environment are the other two topics.) Also, Sweden have a large interest in Enlargement, being situated in the Baltic Sea. Such a geographical positioning means that the opening of the European Union to states such as Latvia and Lithuania is of potential economic interest to Sweden.
Ratification of the Nice Treaty by European Union Member-State Parliaments will follow the Gothenburg Summit. Such ratification is a Constitutional requirement. Traditionally, national ratification’s take 18 months. After this, negotiations with applicant-states must be concluded. This will probably occur in the second half of 2002. This will be followed by the signing of ‘Accession Treaties’ by all parties. Finally, these Accession Treaties will need to be ratified by individual National Parliaments.
This leads me to the crux of my argument….The implications for the Markets.
Whilst, the Media are correct in telling the public that enlargement will only take place upon the day when the aforementioned states join the European Union, such a time is not a trigger point for Fund Managers to move funds into the acceding markets. The trigger for Fund Managers shall come when two of the stages I have mentioned ‘look’ like being completed. When it is 80-90% clear that the Gothenburg Summit and Member-State Ratification are positive in terms of Enlargement as earlier outlined, the time will surely have come to enter the acceding markets in order to benefit from predicted rallies.
Calendar of Upcoming Events:
European Parliament approval of Nice Treaty (March ?)
Gothenburg Summit (June)….’Informal date for enlargement’ (?)
Member-State Parliament Ratification of Nice Treaty
Negotiations with Applicant States
All parties need to sign ‘Accession Treaties’
All Individual Parliaments must ratify ‘Accession Treaties’.
BIK CHEEMA 18/01/01
The Question of E.U Enlargement : “Around the Corner but nobody
In 1993 , European union accession criteria were formalised. It demanded such requirements as ….the existence of a functioning market economy and the capacity to cope with competitive pressure and market forces within the union, the ability to take on the obligations of membership, including the aims of political, economic and monetary union …. The major implication of these criteria was to change the question of “if” to “when the other European states accede to the E.U.”
On 31st march 1998; accession negotiations were formally opened with Cyprus, Estonia, Hungary, Poland, Slovenia and Czech republic. The number of applicant states was increased on February 15th 2000, when negotiations were opened with Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Romania, Slovakia and Turkey.
An intergovernmental conference (IGC) opened in February 2000 and is “to consider the size and composition of the commission, the weighting of votes in the council, the extension of qualified majority voting and other institutional matters deriving from the implementation of the treaty of Amsterdam.” The official view on the work of the IGC that it will complete its work in December 2000. In order for the aforementioned states to accede to the E.U. l pre-existing member states must agree. One potential stumbling block is that of Denmark who may block agreement at nice over the question of sovereignty.
I am inclined to believe that a firm “time-scale” for enlargement will not be concluded at Nice. Whilst some believe that the mere presence of all heads of state from applicant states implies by definition that some kind of groundbreaking decision will be reached , I am not so positive. Whilst it is true that the more “blurred” the treaty of nice is, the more likely enlargement is to be agreed, I think that what is more likely is that when the Swedish take over from the French as “presidents of the E.U. agreement will be reached by the member states. This view is in line with the commission’s schedule. I believe that by the summer of 2002, agreement between member states as to the question of enlargement will have been secured. This will also be in time for the “Uruguay round” in 2003. Some believe Brussels is under added pressure to have consolidated the union by such time . Whilst it shall take another 12-18 months for ratification of any such agreement to be achieved, newly admitted states will already be members in terms of day-to-day business as soon as agreement is reached. As for the question of who will accede to E.U. membership first, I believe that in all probability, nine-tenths of the list aforementioned will accede primarily, achieving a kind of “big-bang” effect.
My view is optimistic in terms of the 2005-ish opinion commonly held. Indeed, according to some institutions , the key to European union membership is that which governs European monetary union…. the euro. Those whose views are dominated by this belief feel that until the aforementioned states achieve a 5% bond yield (inter alia) then the issue of accession cannot be addressed. Nevertheless, E.U. enlargement in the summer of 2002 is not priced into the equity markets, suggesting rallies in the EMEA regions, which have not been anticipated.
EU Calendar of important forthcoming events:
Nov 8 : EU Commission progress report (Brussels)
Nov 19: IGC on Nice treaty at ministerial level.
Nov 20/21: General Council officially agree on meeting of Nov 19.
*Nov 23rd: all European ministers and applicant foreign ministers/prime ministers.
Decisive as to the positive/negative feeling in terms of enlargement at Nice
Nov 24: informal IGC meeting. (Val duchesse)
Dec 4: results of Nov 24 discussed at ministerial level.
Dec 4/5: meeting of general council on enlargement.
Dec 7: Nice summit (all heads of state from member states and applicant states.)
* Most important meeting
Membership of the European Union is a central fact of life
By RICHARD LAMING
Head of Campaigns, European Movement
The benefits of being in the EU affect almost every aspect of the
way we live: our economic prosperity; the way we are governed; our quality
Yet after more than 25 years in the European Union, it is still the subject
of controversy. It is a debate that never seems to go away. But as the European Union develops and grows, it is becoming more important to Britain, not less. The shape of the EU in the years to come will depend
on decisions taken now.
The most obvious example of the benefits of EU membership is the economy. The European single market has one set of rules applying across fifteen countries - including 370 million consumers -, which makes it easier for businesses to trade across borders. Since we joined in 1973, British goods exports to the rest of the EU have grown five times as fast as to the rest of the world. This increase in exports helps create jobs. The European single currency - which Britain has not yet joined - is
increasing the economic benefits of membership still further. Not only have the rules and red tape associated with international trade been reduced, but the costs of changing money and the uncertainty about future exchange rates have been scrapped. This is worth about 0.3 per cent of GDP - about £3 billion a year in the case of Britain.
The EU also assists the process of economic change. For example, the former US airbase at Upper Heyford has received funds through the Konver programme to convert it into a nursery for science, technology and knowledge-based businesses. It provides office or workshop suites for start-ups and small-established businesses with growth potential. It is now the home to 15 technology-based companies, employing some 50 people.
Developing environmental technology is another area where the EU is taking a lead. Oxford's Barton estate has benefited from a project to develop controlled heat recovery ventilation integrated with central heating. This will reduce energy consumption by 15 per cent; (providing more affordable heating for the council tenants) and improve indoor air quality. Additional benefits will include an estimated reduction of carbon dioxide by 3.2
Million kgs. per year.
But the EU is still controversial. This is because of the way it works and
the things that it does. It is in many ways imperfect, but the European
Movement argues that these imperfections are a reason to improve and reform it, rather than a reason to leave.
Its working methods amount to a small revolution in the way in which we are governed. The sharing of decision-making with other countries has, for the first time, extended democratic principles into the international sphere.
The European Movement argues that the experience of the last fifty years in Europe compared with the previous fifty years shows the advantages of organising international relations on the basis of the rule of law. Extending the principle of democracy and making the EU more effective and
accountable will make those advantages to Britain greater still.
To Contact: Richard Laming
Head of Campaigns, European Movement
Tel: 020 7881 8912
Mobile: 0777 552 4625
European Focus - Oxfordshire - Update
The Ashmoleum Museum, Oxford, will be having a seminar on European Business Opportunities on Monday 4th December. Representatives from the CBI, European Commission, European Parliament and experts from the business, political and academic fields will be there. For further information contact Jennifer Ashby the European Officer for Oxfordshire County Council - you can contact her on 01865-810813 or email: Jennifer.firstname.lastname@example.org
1.Did you know Oxfordshire has benefited by some £2 million in recent years for the various projects?
2.Did you know Oxfordshire together with its partner local authorities have opened a representative office for South East interests in Brussels, as part of efforts to lobby for Oxfordshire's and the South East's interests in Europe?
Better off in Europe – argues European Movement
Recommended Reading on Europe
§ Bennett R. 2000, European Business: Frameworks, Financial Times, London.
§ Lawton T. 2000, European Industrial Competitiveness, MacMillan, London.
§ Leonard D. 2000, Guide to the European Union, The Economist, London.
§ Roney A. 2000 EC/EU Fact-book: A Complete Guide, Kogan Press. London.
The Stockholm Transport Forum
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NEW press release
Sustainable Urban Transport and the Citizen Committee of the Regions Seminar
The Committee of the Regions is organising a seminar on Sustainable Urban
Transport and the Citizen on 26th April 2001, as part of the Stockholm
Transport Forum (26-27 April 2001). Members of the CoR Commission 3
(TransEuropean Networks, Transport and the Information Society) and experts
from across Europe will exchange views on topics including the role of
different levels of government in transport provision, the economic and
social consequences of European transport policy and how to develop a
quality urban environment.
Urban transport is a key issue for members of the Committee of the Regions,
as local and regional authorities have a central role to play in providing
and regulating the bus, tram, metro and rail services we all use everyday.
Given their direct experience of dealing with transport problems, CoR
members are keen to ensure future EU transport policy will be as effective
The seminar comes at a timely moment, with the European Commission poised to
launch a Communication on Urban Transport. CoR Commission 3 member Anders
GUSTÂV (SV/EPP - Vice-mayor of Solna) will be drafting the CoR's opinion on
the Communication, along with José Maria ÁLVAREZ del MANZANO (ES/EPP - Mayor
of Madrid) of CoR Commission 4 (Spatial Planning, Urban Issues, Energy and
the Environment). Both will be taking part in the seminar, as will the
President of Commission 3, Betty COFFEY (IRL/EA).
Journalists are welcome to attend the seminar. For further information
please contact Ralph Pine, Committee of the Regions Press and Communication
Unit, tel +32 2 282 2099 e-mail email@example.com (or 25-26 April tel
+32 475 903661) or Catharina Söderbergh, Stockholm County Council, +46 8
737 44 42.
Venue: Stockholm County Hall (Landstingshuset)
Hantverkargatan 45 (Entrance C)
Time: 0900-1700 Thursday 26th April 2001
The Stockholm Transport Forum is being organised by the Stockholm County
Council Office of Regional Planning and Urban Transportation, with the
Committee of the Regions. It will also include a two day conference on
Connecting people and markets around the Baltic Sea. A full programme is
available at www.rtk.sll.se (and soon at www.cor.eu.int).
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service. For more information on the Committee of the Regions please visit
our web site: http://www.cor.eu.int/
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Fax: + 32 (0) 2 282 20 55
Committee of the Regions
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