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close this bookThe Courier N 123 Sept - October 1990 - Dossier Higher Education - Country Reports: Barbados - (EC Courier, 1990, 104 p.)
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EEC Summit in Dublin

Heads of State and Government of the 12 Member States of the Community met at their customary end-of-presidency summit on 25 and 26 June. Since Ireland held the presidency of the EC for the first six months of 1990, the meeting took place there - in the capital, Dublin - under the chairmanship of the Irish Taoiseach (Prime Minister), Charles Haughey.

As always on such occasions, the scope of their discussions was wide. Important decisions were made on the holding of two intergovernmental conferences - one on economic and monetary union (to be opened in Rome on 13 December) and one on political union (on 14 December). In both cases the aim was to achieve ratification of results by the end of 1992.

The Council also requested the Commission to consult with the Soviet government with a view to preparing, as a matter of urgency, proposals for short-term credit and support for longer-term structural adjustment measures.

It also heard a report from the German Federal Chancellor on progress towards German unification. It welcomed the signing of the Inter-German State Treaty, which will facilitate and speed up the integration of the territory of the German Demogratic Republic into the Community.

On the environment, the Council agreed that a more enlightened and a more systematic approach needed to be adopted as a matter of urgency. Mr Haughey welcomed the adoption of what he termed a “major declaration” on the environment, in which guidelines for future action were set out. The Commission was asked to prepare an appropriate programme to deal with the threat to tropical rain-forests, in consultation with the countries concerned, in particular Brazil.

The question of South African sanctions was debated and, having paid homage to the roles played by both President de Klerk and Mr Nelson Mandela in the efforts to bring about changes in South Africa, the Twelve affirmed their willingness “ to gradually relax the pressure exerted on the South African authorities” (see declaration below). On sub-Saharan Africa, the Council expressed serious concern about the overall economic situation and about Africa’s indebtedness in particular.

Finally, the Twelve agreed to renew Mr Jacques Delors’ mandate as President of the Commission for a further two years.

Declaration on Southern Africa

“The European Council welcomes the important changes that have taken place in Southern Africa since it met in Strasbourg.

The European Council warmly welcomes the successful conclusion of the process of bringing Namibia to independence with a constitution based on multi-party democracy and human rights. The European Community and its Member States will continue to give aid and support to the people of Namibia as they build their new country, in particular in the framework of the new Lomonvention. They welcome the talks which have taken place between the Angolan Government and UNITA under Portuguese auspices. They look forward to the resolution of the conflict in Angola and also of that in Mozambique through dialogue.

The European Council greatly welcomes the significant changes that have taken place in South Africa in recent months: the release of Nelson Mandela and of other political prisoners; the unbanning of political organisations; the substantial lifting of the state of emergency; the commitment by the Government to abolish the apartheid system and to create a democratic and non-racial South Africa, and its willingness to enter into negotiations on the future of South Africa with the representatives of the majority.

They pay tribute to the parts played in bringing about these changes by President F.W. de Klerk and Mr Nelson Mandela. The efforts of President F.W. de Klerk to bring about a new era in South Africa are testimony to his foresight and courage. Mr Nelson Mandela, a prisoner for 27 years, has inspired millions of South Africans opposed to apartheid and thereby amply demonstrated his qualities of statesmanship, qualities that will be required in the challenging period ahead in South Africa.

The objective of the European Community and its Member States is the complete dismantlement of the apartheid system’ by peaceful means and without delay, and its replacement by a united, non-racial ant! democratic state in which all people shall enjoy common and equal citizenship and where respect for universally recognised human rights is guaranteed. They welcome the joint commitment between the South African Government and the ANC in the Groote Schunr Minute to stability and a peaceful process of negotiations. They call on all parties in South Africa to endorse this objective. It is the intention of the European Community and its member States to encourage, by every means available to them, the early opening of negotiations leading to the creation of a united, non-racial and democratic South Africa.

Negotiations on a new South Africa should get under way without delay. The substantial progress made towards removal of the obstacles represented by the state of emergency and the detenton of political prisoners is welcome. The European Council looks forward to early agreement between the South African Government and the ANC on the conditions in which exiles can return and on the definition of political prisoners leading to their release. The European Council calls on all parties to remove the remaining obstacles to peaceful negotiations and to refrain from violence or advocacy of violence.

The European Council fully recognises that a new post-apartheid South Africa should be able to avail itself of all the economic resources, including access to external finance, required to ensure its future prosperity and the full development of all its people. South Africa faces acute socio-economic problems, especially in the areas of employment, education and housing, against a background of a high rate of population growth. These problems have been greatly exacerbated by apartheid. Positive action is needed to rectify imbalances.

Through the programme of positive measures, the Community has, for a number of years, been providing assistance to the victims of apartheid. In the light of the recent developments in South Africa and as a strong signal of political support to those disadvantaged by apartheid and of the will to contribute to a new socio-economic balance, the Community intends to release the funds being made available under its programme and to adapt the programme to the needs of the new situation, including those connected with the return and resettlement of exiles. It welcomes the positive attitude being displayed by all parties, including the new South African Government, to such programmes.

At its meeting in Strasbourg last December, the European Council decided that the Community and its Member States would maintain the pressure that they exert on the South African authorities in order to promote the profound and irreversible changes which they have repeatedly stood for. The European Council affirms its willingness to consider a gradual relaxation of this pressure when there is further clear evidence that the process of change already initiated continues in the direction called for at Strasbourg.”

DEVELOPMENT COMMITTEE

The European Parliament’s Development Committee met in mid-June to discuss both the 1991 budget for development and a number of issues of direct or indirect interest in the context of the Community’s development policy or programmes, including the Uruguay Round, German unification, relations with Central America, NGOs, the conservation of tropical forests and the protection of African elephants.

In addition, the Commissioner for Development, Mr Marin, addressed MEPs, informing them of the Council’s approval of further assistance to the victims of apartheid and of its support for the maintenance of sanctions; of progress towards the implementation of LomV and of the outcome of his recent visits to East Africa.

In the debate that followed Mr Marin’s address, questions were raised on the slow pace of implementation of Community programmes, and on the possibility of enlivening the Lomnstitutions - the Joint Assembly and the ACP-EEC Council. Mr Saby (Soc, F.), the Development Committee’s present Chairman, raised the issue of a special session of the Parliament, to be devoted to development and of a high-level seminar on the implementation of the Community’s development policy, suggestions which were both welcomed by the Commissioner.

POLITICAL COOPERATION

Liberia

The Community issued the following statement on 25 July:

“The Comunity and its Member States follow with deep concern the course of events in Liberia. They deplore in particular the loss of life among the civilian population and the wholescale destruction caused by the civil war and support the efforts of all those who are working to restore peace in the country. The Community and its Member States launch an urgent appeal for an end to the sufferings of the Liberian people and to havoc and war in the country.

Angola and Mozambique

The Community issued the following statement on 13 July:

“The Twelve reaffirm their conviction that a solution of the conflicts in Angola and Mozambique is possible through dialogue and note, in this respect, some encouraging developments.

- In Angola, they welcome the commitment to a pluralistic political system, contained in the communiquf the MPLA Central Committee, published on 4 July. This commitment will certainly enhance the prospects for a genuine dialogue and for internal reconciliation in Angola.

They have also noted with interest the contacts which are taking place under Portuguese auspices between the government of Angola and UNITA.

- On Mozambique, they welcome the positive outcome of the first official meeting between a delegation of the government of Mozambique and one of RENAMO which took place in Rome on 8-10 July. They feel encouraged by the decision of the parties to reconvene in Rome at an early date.

In the light of such positive steps, the Twelve urge all parties concerned in each of the two countries to work to establish a cease-fire as an indispensible preliminary for the negotiation of a lasting political settlement.

The Community and its Member States reaffirm their commitment to support this process by aiding the reconstruction and development of both these countries.”

SOUTH AFRICA

The Commission of the European Communities approved, in June, a communication to the Council on new lines to be taken in the EEC’s Special Programme for the victims of apartheid in South Africa.

The Commission suggests that the “ political dimension “ of the programme be maintained (until such time as there is proof of irreversible progress towards the complete abolition of apartheid) and that relations with bodies such as the South African Council of Churches, the Conference of Catholic Bishops, the Kasigo Trust and trades unions be continued would be taken into account and on-the-spot coordination would be improved.

According to the Commission, priority under the programme would be given to training and education, rural development, community development and to emergency health care. Projects would be expected to support and promote in some way the concept of racial equality.

The Member States are expected to decide on these proposals sometime in the autumn.

The new lines the Programme would take was one of the topics of discussion in the talks held between the President of the Commission, Mr Jacques Delors, and Mr Nelson Mandela when they met in Strasbourg in June (see The Courier N°122, Yellow Pages, p. I) in the presence of two of the Commission’s Vice-Presidents, Mr Frans Andriessen (External Relations and Trade) and Mr Manuel Marin (Development and Fisheries).ECONOMIC AND MONETARY UNION

On 1 July 1990, the European Community entered into stage one of

At the same time, the difficulties the achievement of Economic and arising out of the return of exiles Monetary Union as was decided by the European Council in Madrid 12 months ago.

In Dublin, the European Council decided to convene the Intergovernmental conference on EMU on 13 December. The Council also considered that the first stage should be used to ensure convergence in the economic performance of Member States, to advance cohesion and to further the use of the ecu, all of which are of importance for further progress towards EMU.

“Stage one will be crucial to the success of the whole process”, according to Vice-President Henning Christophersen, “ It must bring about greater convergence of economic performance through the strengthening of economic and monetary policy coordination within the existing institutional framework.” The Vice-President believed that preparations for stage one have been successfully concluded:

- Capital movements, which were to be liberalised no later than 1 July in all Member States except four, have been freed from restrictions ahead of schedule.

- A system of multilateral surveillance has been set up in order to coordinate economic policies more efficiently and has already been used successfully in the ECOFIN Council on 11 June.

- The Committee of Central Bank Governors has been strengthened and the framework for the coordination of monetary policies has been improved.

- The European Monetary System has been consolidated by extending the common rules to the Italian lira and the Belgian franc, and exchange rate parities have been stable for 3 1/2 years. Full participation of the pound sterling at an early date seems likely.

Finally, the work for the completion of the internal market by the end of 1992 is well on track.

The goal of stage one is to prepare the ground for subsequent stages, Mr Christophersen added. The Heads of State and Government declared in Dublin that the Intergovernmental Conference on Economic and Monetary Union should conclude its work rapidly, with the objective of ratification of the results by Member States before the end of 1992.