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EU Helsinki European Council Summit (2)

EU Helsinki European Council, Presidency conclusions

PRESIDENCY CONCLUSIONS
HELSINKI EUROPEAN COUNCIL
10 AND 11 DECEMBER 1999

(PART 2 of 2 see previous item...)

Stability for South-Eastern Europe

58. The Union is determined to have a leading role in promoting stability, security and economic development in South-Eastern Europe in close partnership with the countries of the region and with others under the overall aegis of the Stability Pact. The European Council welcomes the joint report by the Presidency and the Commission emphasising key areas for future work. It invites the Secretary-General/High Representative, together with the Commission, to present to the Council for further urgent consideration a political and economic analysis of future prospects of the region. The European Council also underlines the need for a single regulatory framework for financial assistance which should contribute to more effective action on the ground and cooperation in the region. The European Council expresses its gratitude for the work being undertaken by Mr. Bodo Hombach.

59. The prospect of stabilisation and association agreements should enable closer relations to be developed between all of the states in the region in all areas. Support from the Union will depend on the clear and visible commitment of the states of South Eastern Europe to cooperate in order to achieve the common political priorities. The European Council stresses the major importance of improving relations and removing trade barriers and barriers to the movement of people between the countries concerned. It recalls the importance of rapid action on clearing the Danube.

60. The Union wishes to assist the democratisation of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (FRY) as part of its efforts to stabilise South-Eastern Europe. It will intensify dialogue with Serbian democratic forces, as well as the democratically elected government of Montenegro. The Union will pursue further ways of supporting Montenegro´s political and economic reform programme.

61. The Union is committed to rehabilitation and reconstruction in Kosovo. It welcomes the Reconstruction and Recovery Programme for Kosovo and the Union´s pledge of 500 million euros starting from year 2000 for reconstruction, in addition to the national contributions from the Member States. UN Security Council resolution 1244 must be fully implemented in all its aspects by all the parties. Non-compliance with UNMIK´s mandate and lack of cooperation with KFOR will have serious consequences for the EU´s commitment in Kosovo. In this context, the European Council expresses its gratitude for the work being undertaken by Mr Bernard Kouchner.
The Northern Dimension

62. The European Council welcomes the conclusions of the Foreign Ministers´ Conference on the Northern Dimension held 11 and 12 November 1999 in Helsinki and the intention of the future Swedish Presidency to organise a high-level follow-up. The European Council invites the Commission to prepare, in cooperation with the Council and in consultation with the partner countries, an Action Plan for the Northern Dimension in the external and cross-border policies of the European Union with a view to presenting it for endorsement at the Feira European Council in June 2000.

Mexico

63. The European Council welcomes the conclusion of negotiations on a Free Trade Agreement with Mexico.

Human Rights

64. The European Council takes note of the Presidency´s report on human rights and welcomes the follow-up to the measures suggested in the European Union declaration of 10 December 1998. The European Council invites the Council, the Commission and the Member States to continue actively to pursue these measures and further develop the format and the contents of the Annual Report on Human Rights and the Annual Human Rights Discussion Forum and examine the need for strengthening analysis and evaluation in the area of human rights. In this context regular dialogue with civil society on human rights is encouraged.

65. The European Council reaffirms the importance of equal enjoyment of human rights by all individuals. Special attention should be paid to the improvement of the situation of those groups which do not form a majority in any State, including the Roma. The European Union is committed to working to achieve this objective together with the Council of Europe and the OSCE.

Middle East Peace Process

66. The European Council welcomes the renewed momentum towards just, comprehensive and lasting peace in the Middle East and reaffirms the Union´s full support for it.

67. The European Council particularly welcomes the courageous decision of President Assad and Prime Minister Barak to resume negotiations on the Syrian track in Washington in mid-December. It looks forward to early agreement between Israel and Syria which should pave the way for resuming negotiations and for a solution also on the Lebanese track.

68. The European Council emphasises the importance of the measures taken so far by Israel and the Palestinians to implement the Sharm El-Sheikh Understanding. Steady progress should be secured with timely implementation of all the obligations taken by the parties to the agreement. The European Council calls on both parties to refrain from all unilateral acts.

69. All parties to the Multilateral Track of the Peace Process are invited to work for full and early resumption of activities in that field. Parallel progress on all the tracks should be in the interests of all in the present phase of the peace process.


WTO

70. The European Council regrets the failure of the WTO Ministerial Conference in Seattle. It reaffirms its commitment to the existing multilateral trading system and to a comprehensive round of multilateral trade negotiations. It endorses the conclusions of the General Affairs Council of 3 December 1999.

Macao

71. On the eve of the transition in Macao, the European Council emphasises the importance it attaches to Macao´s stability and prosperity as a Special Administrative Region (SAR) of China, as well as to preserving its specific identity and its people´s rights and freedoms, as set out in the Sino-Portuguese Joint Declaration of 1987 and the Basic Law of the SAR.

VI. NORTHERN IRELAND

72. The European Council welcomes devolution to Northern Ireland and the establishment of the British-Irish and North-South institutions under the Good Friday Agreement, recognising that these developments represent very significant progress towards full implementation of the Agreement. The European Council congratulates the political parties, the United Kingdom and the Irish Governments and Senator George Mitchell on achieving this progress. The European Council reaffirms its political and practical support for Northern Ireland and for cooperation between North and South.


ENDS

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