|Series Title||European Voice|
|Series Details||Vol 7, No.13, 29.3.01, p12|
Energy market liberalisation: EU leaders failed to agree on deadlines for opening gas and electricity markets, despite alast-ditch attempt by the Swedish presidency to set firm dates. The French reacted furiously when the Swedes' draft conclusions for the summit called for liberalisation of the electricity market for business users by 2003 and for all consumers by 2005. German Chancellor Gerhard Schröder refused to put pressure on French Prime Minister Lionel Jospin to agree a date; Spanish Prime Minister José María Aznar demanded measures to prevent French power firms competing in the Spanish market. The leaders merely agreed on a pledge to ensure that there wereno distortions of competition in the sector. A definite miss, then- but hardly unexpected given French resistance to a plan their power unions hate.
Financial services: Finance ministers wrapped up an eve-of-summit deal on financial markets regulations after a change in the wording of the agreement to satisfy Germany. It commits the Commission to avoid "going against predominant views which might emerge within the Council". The European Parliament objects to the deal, which paves the way for a single market in financial services by 2005. President Nicole Fontaine and MEP Christa Ranzio-Plath, chairman of the influential economic and monetary committee, said the agreement did not "fully provide the safeguards which the European Parliament is seeking, as regards democratic oversight and transparency".
Single market: Target fixed for adopting 98.5% of all internal market legislation, including a community patent law, EU-wide public procurement rules and regulations for distance selling of financial services, by 2002.
Postal liberalisation: Agreement to reach a deal by the end of this year.
Jobs: Pledge to raise the employment rate across the Union to 67% overall and to 57% for women by 2005 (Lisbon summit in 2000 set a target of 70% by 2010). Aim to increase the number of workers aged between 55 and 64 from 37% to 50% by 2010.
Families: In a victory for the Swedes, EU leaders agreed to produce national statistics and other 'indicators' on care facilities and family benefit systems by 2002.
Single Sky: The summit failed to resolve a dispute between the UK and Spain, but a deal is still possible at the Göteborg council in June. UK premier Tony Blair was unable to settle his differences with Aznar over the status of Gibraltar airport, but in an implied criticism of Loyola de Palacio, who pulled the plug on the plans earlier this month, both said it was up to the Commission to come forward with a proposal.
Galileo: Plans for a European satellite navigation programme were given a political boost but there was little concrete action. Heads of state said Galileo should be launched "without delay" but that more private sector financing must be found.
Football: Swedish premier Göran Persson and Commission President Romano Prodi formally signed a deal on a new soccer transfer system designed to ensure that players have freedom of movement, but that clubs are fairly compensated.
Foot-and-mouth: EU leaders praised the way national authorities and the Commission had cooperated in their efforts to stem the spread of the disease. French President Jacques Chirac announced that France was sending 18 vets to the UK to help cope with the outbreak. Dutch Prime Minister Wim Kok asked for backing for "short-term measures" to deal with cases in the Netherlands.
Climate change: Prodi and Persson published a letter they have written to President George Bush, urging the US to resume talks on implementing the Kyoto agreement to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The letter follows remarks by US National Security Advisor Condoleeza Rice, who said Kyoto was "dead".
Russia: President Vladimir Putin's visit provided the summit's 'curtain-raiser'. Persson stressed the importance of the Union's partnership with Russia and said both sides needed to solve trade disputes, especially charges on EU airlines to fly over Siberia. The EU backed Russia's efforts to join the World Trade Organisation and Persson announced that Russia would be eligible for loans worth around €100 million from the European Investment Bank for projects with environmental benefits.
Macedonia: The European Council declared strong support fora "democratic and multi-ethnic" Macedonia following the visit of its president, Boris Trajkovski. While backing the government policy of using military force to drive ethnic Albanian rebels from the mountains bordering Kosovo, they urged Trajkovski to act in a "restrained and proportionate manner". They emphasised that the former Yugoslav republic should pursue political reforms to address the concerns of the country's minorities. Trajkovski said he was focusing on dialogue but could not negotiate with terrorists because "terrorism breeds more terrorism".
Far East: Leaders backed a planned visit by Persson to North and South Korea to provide EU support for efforts to improve relations between the two countries.
Details of the results of the European Council, Stockholm, 23-24.3.01.
|Subject Categories||Politics and International Relations|