|The Courier N° 146 - July - Aug 1994 - Dossier The Private Sector - Country Reports : Eritrea , Chad (EC Courier, 1994, 104 p.)|
Austria's decisive 'Yes' to EU membership...
In a referendum held on 12 June, the Austrian electorate voted decisively in favour of joining the European Union. The final result was 66.4 % in favour and 33 6 % against Formal accession is due to take place on 1 January 1995. Three other EFTA countries (Finland. Sweden and Norway) have referendums scheduled for later in the year
... but voters deliver a mixed message in European Parliament poll
As was widely anticipated, there was a low turnout for the European Parliament election, other than in those Member States where voting is compulsory. The outcome of the poll, which was held on 9 and 12 June throughout the KU, appears to have been de termined principally by domestic concerns with many electors choosing to deliver a midterm protest against incumbent governments. In certain countries. notably Denmark and France, 'Euro-sceptic' groupings enjoyed some success although the bulk of those who voted continued to support parties which are broadly in favour of the European integration process. The Socialists performed well in the UK and Portugal but fell back in France, Spain and Greece. The Christian Democrats advanced in Spain and largely consolidated their position in Germany and the Benelux countries but the centre-right did badly in France and Britain. Liberal gains in the Netherlands and the UK were offset by losses in Germany. The German, Irish and Luxembourg Greens did well but elsewhere, the environmentalists slipped back. Parties of the extreme right suffered setbacks other than in Belgium. Overall, the left-right balance of the new Par lament is unlikely to change much although the exact composition of the various groups in the chamber will take some time to emerge. The group affiliation of a large number of MEPs, notably from Italy (where Prime Minister Berlusconi's Forza Italia scored a striking success), has yet to be decided More than one third of the MEPs in the newly enlarged chamber of 567 members are newcomers.
Development Council (6 May 1994)
The ministers of the European Union Member States with responsibility for development cooperation met on 6 May under the chairmanship of Theodoros Pangalos, deputy Foreign Minister of Greece High on the agenda were the issues of coordinating development policies in the field of health. with particular reference to the battle against HIV-AIDS, and setting in train the 'operational coordination' of all the EU's development policy sectors. Member State representatives have. for some time. been urging greater coherence both between the various Community policiff - the CAP. development cooperation. external trade and so on - and between these policies on the one hand and those of the Member States on the other.
Declaring its concern about the insufficiency of resources allocated to the health sector. the Council anticipates additional means to help developing countries in this area. External aid, according to the resolution agreed by the Council, should achieve a certain balance, with priority being given to the poorest countries, the least-favoured groups in society and those facing the greatest threat. Women and children, displaced people, refugees and victims of catastrophes and wars deserved particular attention. On a strategic level, the Council considers, among other things, that it is worthwhile helping to improve living and health conditions, to finance preventive programmes and to support institutional reforms along with efforts to mobilise national resources - which includes contributions towards health costs by those who use the system It recommends that, within the framework of support for structural adjustment, a signficant allocation should be set aside for the health sector in national budgets With a view to making the European Union's development policies more effective, the Council decided to establish a system of 'operational coordination' which would embrace the new measures in respect of health. Within the framework of this coordination, meetings of EU and Member State experts will be held regularly The Council requested the experts to submit a list of countries which would, on an experimental basis, be the object of a follow-up in respect of the EU's development policies in the health sector The Commission will present an annual evaluation report. In accordance with the Council resolution, a more concerted approach with other donors should also be pursued. This applies notably to the World Health Organisatlon whose important role was emphasised The Council resolution took note of the numerous and enduring inequalities within developing countries as between urban and rural areas and among different social classes. It also referred to the emergence of new health problems such as the diminishing effectiveness of anti-malaria and antibiotic treatments, the rise of AIDS and growing drug use, not to mention the weakening of health systems occasioned by armed conflicts More specifically, as regards the HIV-AIDS epidemic, the Council called for a strengthening of cooperation between developing and developed countries . This was also an area where coordination between Community and Member State policies should be improved. As a priority, such policies should be designed to support national policies. grassroots initiatives and the work of the NGOs. The Council said that there must be a clear political commitment from states benefiting from assistance in respect of the rights of the individual, and notably those who are ill, in the fight against the spread of the disease. For their part, the donors must take the social, economic, cultural and ethical realities of the recipient peoples into account. The importance of education, stressed earlier in the resolution as regards health in general, was underlined again here. The resolution also refers to the need for measures to mitigate the socio-economic consequences of AIDS. The Council reacted favourably to the Commission proposal for financial allocations for the fight against AIDS. As regards the development policies of the Union as a whole, the Council approved a list of six countries in which Community coordination should be intensified with a view lo learning lessons which could subsequemly be applied in the EU's relations with all its developing country partners. The six states chosen are Bangladesh, Cd'lvoire, Costa Rica, Ethiopia, Mozambique and Peru. Henceforth, there will be a system of preparatory meetings which will be held prior to major international discussions as well as an informal exchange of views among the Member States represented in the major international fora. The Commissioner with responsibility for Development Cooperation. Manuel Mar sugested that a meeting of all ministers concerned with these Commission should be set up. On behalf of the Commission he also made a commitment to present a working document on the subject in the autumn. A number of other points also appeared on the Council's agenda. On Rwanda, a decision was taken to study the idea of sending a mission from the Union to the adjacent countries in order to examine the refugee problem and the possibility that the crisis might spill over into these neighbouring states. Regarding the mid-term review of LomV, following an introductory expose by Mr Mar the Council reviewed the important points to be discussed with the ACP partners on South - Africa, the Council has just presented a set of initial measures, in the context of the cooperation between the Union and
South - Africa, to the new government. A conference on regional cooperation in Southern Africa will take place in Berlin on 6-7 September. On the subject of human rights. the Committee of Permanent Representatives of the Member states (Coreper) has been given the task of studying proposed improvements to administrative procedures so as to allow the Union to react rapidly, in cases where such rights have been seriously violated. As regards migration and development, the Council asked the Commission to establish a working timetable for the adopting of a Community policy aimed at reducing migratory pressures from countries of the South lo those of the North. The Commission recently forwarded a communication on this subject to the Council This proposes that the general orientations of Community policy should include assistance in the fight against unemployment, better integration of women and young people, the reintegration of emigrants and tacking the problem of overpopulation in the countries concerned.
COMMON FOREIGN AND SECURITY POLICY
The European Union has, within the framework of its Common
Security Policy (CFSP), recently issued the following statements on events of international interest:
Statement on Rwanda 25 April 1994
The European Union, recalling its declaration of 18 April 1994 on Rwanda, appeals urgently to all parties to the conflict to bring an early end to the continuing violence in Rwanda.
The European Union expresses its full support for Security Council Resolution 912 and calls on all parties to cooperate in its implementation. The European Union expresses its appreciation and support for the efforts of the OAU and lo President Mwinyi of Tanzania for his initiative in convening on 23 April a regional conference to which the authorities of Rwanda and the RPF will be invited.
The European union urges the two sides to agree on the need to respect the Arusha agreement, which offers the best ovailable basis for national reconciliation.
For its part, the European Union is ready to assist in humanitarian aid as soon as a degree of normality has been restored and the parties involved have demonstrated their willing ness to respect the Arusha agreement.
Statement on Uganda 25 April 1994
The European Union welcomes the succesful holding of the constituent assembly elections in Uganda on 28 March 1994. The European Union notes with satisfaction that the people of Uganda were able, in great numbers and in a peaceful manner, to exercise their democratic right to vote and that the international observers were able to accomplish their mission. Whilst there were blemishes in the election process both of an organisational and a political character which will need addressing in due course, the elections were conducted in a satisfactory degree of transparency and the results by and large reflect the popular will The European union considers that the elections mark an important step in Uganda's democratic evolution, as it proceeds down the path of elaborating a new constitution and holding legislative and presidential elections.
Statement on Rwanda 5 May 1994
The European Union, recalling its declaration of 18 April 1994 on Rwanda. appeals urgently to all parties to the conflict to bring an early end to the continuing violence in Rwanda. The European Union expresses its full support for Security Council resolution 912 (1994) as well as for the statement of the President of the Security Council of 30 April and calls on all part)" to abide by them and to cooperate in their implementation. The European Union expresses its appreciation and support for the efforts of the OAU and to President Mwinyi of Tanzania for his initiative in convening on 3 May 1994 a new round of talks of a regional conference, to which both the authorities of Rwanda and the RPF have been invited The European Union urges the two sides to agree on the need to respect the Arusha agreement, which offers the best available basis for national reconciliation For its part, the European Union is ready to assist in humanitarian aid as soon as a degree of normality has been restored and the parties involved have demonstrated their willingness to respect the Arusha agreement.
Statement on South Africa
6 May 1994
The European Union warmly welcomes the holding of the first democratic elections in South Africa and congratulates all the People of South Africa and its leaders on this historic occasion. The European union is ready to support the efforts of the new government to accomplish the goal of leading the country to a democratic and non-racial society in which respect for human rights, the rights of minorities and the rule of law, the promotion of social justice and the elimination of all forms of discrimination, will prevail, Furthermore, the European Union recalls its ministerial decision of 19 April 1994, in which it pledged a package of immediate measures for the new South Africa. These will focus on a dialogue centred on important sectors for the new South Africa, such as trade, economic cooperation and development cooperation, in order to provide support for addressing the immediate needs of South Africans The measures will be coupled with the commencement of a political dialogue, in order to enhance and consolidate the democratic institutions upon which the new South African Society will build its future. The European Union rejoices for the new era into which South Africa has off;ciolly entered. It is confident that this era will be characterised by adherence to commitments made during the negotiating process and urges the South Africans to continue to find solutions through dialogue and peaceful means. The European Union expresses the hope that the new South African government will do its utmost to address the legitimate aspirations of all South Africans, who have dreamt and fought for this day, and whom it now represents.
Statement on Rwanda 16 May 1994
The European Union. recalling its declaration of 18April on Rwanda. again appeals urgently to all parties to the conflict to bring an end to the genocide now toking place in the country, The European Union expresses its full support for the United Nations' humanitarian efforts and in this context welcomes the resolution that is currently before the Security Council. The European Union looks forward to an urgent decision on measures which can be implemented soon. The European union welcomes the initiative of the UN High Commissioner on Human Rights to carry out a mission to both Rwanda and Burundi and supports the call for a special meeting of the UN Commission on Human Rights. The European Union expresses its support and appreciation for the efforts of the OAU and to President Mwinyi of Tanzania for their initiatives in convening a regional conference, to which both the authorities of Rwanda and the RPF will be invited The European union urges the two sides to agree on the need lo respect the Arusha agreement, which, through the way of negotiation, offers the best available basis for national reconciliation. In this context the European Union supports the call for the early imposition of an arms embargo on Rwanda, and calls on all concerned to refrain from any action that is liable to exacerbate the situation. The European Union is eager to increase its humanitarian aid whenever and wherever such aid can be brought to the populations that have suffered so cruelly from the violence In this respect it will continue its immediate assistance to refugees in the neigh bouring countries. Equally, it will endeavor, where conditions allow. to assist the stricken population within Rwanda. On 6 May, the European union decided to dispatch a Troika mission of development Ministers, to visit as soon as possible the countries bordering Rwanda. with a view to evaluating the humanitarian situation in the light of the influx of refugees.
Statement on Haiti 27 May 1994 The European Union condemns the provisional investiture of Emile Jonassaint, President of the Supreme Court of Haiti, as President of the Republic, by a faction in the Haitian Senate. The European Union regards this appointment as unconstitutional and reaffirms its full support for the efforts of both the United Nations, in particular through Security Council Resolution 917, and the Organisation ofAmerican States, to restore democracy and respect for human rights in Haiti and to bring about the return of the legitimately elected President, Jean-Bertrand Aristide Given that the investiture of Mr Jonassaint is in blatant defiance of the international community, thereby justifying the additional embargo measures recently approved by the UN Security Council, the European Union joins the Security Council in stressing that persons participating in illegal governments since the 1991 coup are subject to the measures provided for in Resolution 917
Statement on Malawi
27 May 1994
The European Union congratulates the people of Malawi, their leaders and members of all political parties on the successful transition to a democratic system of government. In this context, the EU welcomes the holding of presidential and parliamentary elections on May 17, in which there was broad participation by the people of Malawi, thus demonstrating their commitment to peaceful change. The European union also appreciates the peaceful and orderly way in which the elections were held under the supervision of the
Electoral Commission and acknowledges the result as the free expression of the people's will.
The European Union appeals to all parties to work together in their respective roles, in a spirit of cooperation, tolerance, mutual trust and nation-building, and expresses satisfaction at the entry into force of a new Constitution on May 18, which firmly entrenches the protection of human rights, a pluralistic system of government and the independence of the judiciary.
The European Union recalls that it has consistently encouraged and supported the promotion of human rights and the advancement of accountable, democratic and transparent government in Malawi. It reiterates its determination to support, in close cooperation with other bilateral and multilateral donors, Malawi's efforts to tackle its problem of poverty and to achieve economic stability and social progress.
The European Union is ready to assist the democratically elected government in assuring the protection of human rights, strengthening the new democratic institutions and fostering the political culture of pluralism and tolerance
Statement on South Africa
27 May 1994
The European Union, wishing to assist the new South African government, taking into account the decision of the UN Security Council of 25 May 1994 concerning the lifting on UN sanctions, and following the decision of its General Affairs Council of 18-19 April, has decided to lift all remaining restrictive measures in place against South Africa