Gothenburg Summit, Western Balkans and Middle East Peace Process in the General Affairs Council 25.6.2001

When the General Affairs Council will meet in Luxembourg on 25 June 2001, one of the main topics will be the follow up of the decisions made by the European Council in Gothenburg on June 15-16. In Finland´s opinion, Sweden succeeded well in achieving its objectives in Gothenburg.
For the part of enlargement, the date for decisions on the first membership negotiations was defined. In the context of global dimension of sustainable development, the EU's commitment to achieve the development aid value set by the UN, e.g. 0,7% of the GDP as soon as possible, was confirmed.

A decision on the establishment of the European Food Authority was not taken, but the validity of the Edinburgh decision was included in the conclusions. This means that new agencies are to be located primarily in member states still without an agency.

Finland is satisfied with the outcome of the Gothenburg European Council regarding the enlargement and the strategy for sustainable development.

Another central topic of the General Affairs Council is Western Balkans. The Council will discuss at least the situation in Macedonia and confirm conclusions, which, in addition to Macedonia, will mention the donor conference for the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia on June 29, the general elections in Albania on June 24, the continuance of the mandate of High Representative Petritsch; and the meeting of the regional table of the Stability Pact on June 28. The Prime Minister of Macedonia,Mr Georgievski and leaders of the Macedonian government parties will be guests at the General Affairs Council.

The agenda of the Council also includes the peace process in Middle East. The development of Middle East situation and EU"s possible actions to support the peace process will be discussed on the basis of the reports given by High Representative Javier Solana and the discussion in the Gothenburg Summit. High Representative was given full support in Gothenburg European Council, he was invited to continue his work based on the Mitchell Report.

Finland supports the proposals made by High Representative Solana and his active contribution in reinforcing the ceasefire in Middle East and promoting the peace process. The EU should cooperate closely with all the key contributors, especially the United states and the UN. The peace process should be encouraged in line with the Mitchell Report adopted by all the parties. It is vital to strengthen the feeble state of the ceasefire.

Moreover the General Affairs Council is expected to discuss openness and good admistration, the dialogue between Zimbabwe and the EU, and the question of Western Africa. The association councils with Slovakia, Slovenia, Turkey, and Ukraine, the cooperation councils with Mercosur and Chile, as well as the EEA council will meet in connection with the Council. The association agreement between the EU and Egypt will also be signed.

Further information: Terhi Hakala, tel. 09-13415780