Joint Statement of the "Laeken 10" Countries
23.10.2002 / 08:22
Joint Statement of the Ministers of Foreign Affairs of the "Laeken 10" Countries from the 22nd October 2002.(23/10/2002)
Meeting of the Ministers of Foreign Affairs
of Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Slovakia and Slovenia
(Prague, October 22, 2002)
The Ministers of Foreign Affairs of Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Slovakia and Slovenia, met in Prague on October 22, 2002 to discuss issues related to the final phase of the negotiations on accession to the EU.
The Ministers accepted with satisfaction the generally positive evaluation of their countries in the Regular Reports. They invited the Member States to endorse the recommendations contained in European Commission´s Strategy Paper to conclude the accession negotiations with the ten acceding Countries by the end of 2002, signing the Accession Treaty in spring 2003 and confirm the readiness to enter the EU at the beginning of 2004. The Ministers expressed the conviction that both the Candidate and the Member States will shortly have achieved the historic goal of unification of the European continent as an area of lasting peace and prosperity.
The Ministers, mindful of the fact that Bulgaria and Romania are also part of the negotiating process, expressed support for their efforts to become members of the European Union.
The Ministers welcomed the result of the Irish referendum which will allow the EU to complete the process of ratification of the Treaty of Nice and get ready for enlargement.
The Ministers expressed their expectation that the European
Council in Brussels will decide on a financial package which will
reflect a fair balance between rights and obligations of
membership. The Ministers invited the Member States to fully
explore all possibilities offered by the Berlin financial
The Ministers paid primary attention to the financial framework of the EU enlargement. They expressed the conviction that the result of the negotiations on the Financial and Budgetary provisions and the Agriculture chapters should reflect the following principles:
The acquis communautaire as well as the principles of solidarity and cohesion which constitute the foundation stone of the European integration should be respected to the maximum possible extent.
The net budgetary position of the new Member States should be significantly better than their position prior to their entry into the EU, with the methodology of calculating the financial position of the candidate countries being transparent, proceeding from realistic assumptions and taking into account the financial impact of the accession on the state budget of the acceding countries.
The solution concerning financial transfers to the new Member States has to be accompanied by a phasing-in mechanism for the contribution of new members to the community budget or by a budgetary mechanism providing corrections based on the actual net balance.
Any potential transition period for the amount of direct payments should be limited only to the present financial perspective.
Farmers in the new Member States should be in a fair competitive position in respect of their counterparts in the current Member States, with production quotas reflecting the specificities of countries having undergone farm reform.
The Ministers at the same time stated that the amount of funds that will provide for a dignified unification of the continent is within limits and will have favourable impact on the economies of the current EU countries. In this connection, the Ministers called on their partners in the Member States to take a flexible approach in the final phase of the negotiations. Respecting this is essential not only for the quality of membership but also for generating public support for the Accession Treaty.
The Ministers appreciated the work done to date by the Convention and with reference to the decision of the Nice European Council to convene an intergovernmental conference in 2004 stated that the far-reaching decisions on the future shape of the enlarged EU can only be taken with the participation of the new EU Member States.
The next meeting of Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Slovakia and Slovenia will be held on the level of Prime Ministers.