The European Council held an exchange of views on the application of the principle of subsidiarity as set out in the Treaty. It confirmed the guidelines established at its meetings in Birmingham and Edinburgh, which should inform Union action.
The European Council took note of the second annual report from the Commission on the application of the subsidiarity and proportionality principles, and is pleased that the 1993 programme on the adaptation of existing legislation to the principle of subsidiarity is practically finalized.
It requested the Commission to report to the European Council at its meeting in Florence on the application of the principles of subsidiarity and proportionality to current EC legislation and to proposals under consideration.
The European Council urges progress in the fight against social exclusion in its various forms, taking the view that solidarity is an essential factor for integration and the attainment of common objectives within the European Union.
The European Council takes note of the approval of the fourth programme on equal rights and opportunities for women and men and wishes to continue action in favour of women with a view to achieving fully equal treatment. For the same purpose, the European Union will also monitor annually the action platform which emerged from the Beijing Conference.
The European Council reaffirms the importance of cultural action as a way of fostering a Community dimension in the cultures of all the Member States of the Union. The European Council stresses its interest in very shortly arriving at a viable agreement on the RAPHAEL programme regarding cultural heritage of European significance.
The European Council welcomes the renewal of the Media programme and also the decisive progress achieved in the Council on the proposal to amend the Directive on television without frontiers, which will, it hopes, be adopted as soon as the necessary conditions obtain.
The European Council notes the work done on the protection of public health and urges adoption of the programmes to combat cancer and to combat AIDS and the programme of action on health education and training.
The European Council notes the major report on the state of health in the European Union and trusts that the European Parliament and the Council will be able to adopt the programme of action on health monitoring and inspection as soon as possible.
The European Council expresses satisfaction at the progress made in achieving greater transparency in Council proceedings, through the approval of a Code of Conduct to facilitate public access to Council minutes and statements when the Council acts as legislator, and at the growing number of debates which have been broadcast to the public.
The European Council welcomes the adoption of two Decisions on consular protection, which will give citizens of the Union access to all the Member States' consulates in third countries, in compliance with Article 8c of the Treaty.
The European Council took note of the report on activities carried out in 1995 in the field of justice and home affairs, which describes a very wide range of activities, among them the conclusion of four Conventions and the establishment of the Europol Drugs Unit.
It is the European Council's ambition that the Union can create an area of freedom and security for its citizens and it requests that, with a view to extending cooperation in these areas, future activities be focused on programmed priority areas, including Europol, over a number of Presidencies, particularly in relation to:
The European Council notes with great satisfaction the Council's approval of the La Gomera Declaration on terrorism (Annex 3) as evidence of the Union's firm resolve to reinforce collaboration in the fight against terrorism, one of the priority objectives of cooperation in justice and home affairs. It urges the Council to give expression to such cooperation in the form of effective practical measures.
The European Council approves the report of the Group of Experts on Drugs and stresses the urgency of translating the guidelines it contains into precise, coordinated operational activities within the Union.
The European Council invites the incoming Italian Presidency, in collaboration with the future Irish Presidency and after consultation of the Member States, the Commission, the Europol Drugs Unit and the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction, to prepare a programme of activities which takes account of the guidelines in that report. The European Council will examine progress in the application of that report in December 1996.
In this connection, the European Council considers it a matter of priority to establish a mechanism for cooperation between the European Union and Latin America, including the Caribbean, to combat drugs. It considers that the international strategy for combating drug abuse and unlawful trafficking in drugs must be based on a comprehensive, coordinated approach designed to reduce drug supply and demand through bilateral cooperation between both regions. It welcomes the Franco-British initiative on the Caribbean, which proposes regional action to combat trafficking in narcotics and which is also included in action under the Transatlantic Agenda.
The European Council calls upon the Council and the Commission to prepare a report and the requisite proposals for action in both areas by April 1996. An ad hoc Working Party on drugs will be set up for the purpose.
The European Council is pleased that an Agreement on precursors will be signed in Madrid on 18 December 1995 between the Community and the five countries of the Andean Pact, an important step forward in this strategy. In that connection, it supports the maintenance of preferences for the Andean countries and Central America as part of the special arrangements for combating drugs in the Generalized Scheme of Preferences.
The European Council also expresses satisfaction at the Conference on drugs held in Brussels on 7 and 8 December 1995.
The European Council takes note of the proceedings on organized crime and urges the Council to adopt the necessary operational measures to combat this threat to all the Member States.
The European Council calls upon the Council and the Commission to consider the extent to which harmonization of Member States' laws could contribute to a reduction in the consumption of drugs and unlawful trafficking in them.
The European Council considers that priority should be given to extradition and mutual judicial assistance in criminal matters and to the extension of the Brussels Convention and document transmission in civil matters. It expresses satisfaction at the signing of the Convention on insolvency proceedings.
The European Council expresses satisfaction at the results achieved regarding thirdcountry nationals residing illegally in the Union, readmission agreements and combating illegal immigration and illegal employment, and urges the Council to continue proceedings in this area.
The European Council also expresses satisfaction at the approval of the Resolution on burden-sharing with regard to the admission of displaced persons, and the Decision on an alert and emergency procedure for burden-sharing.
The European Council takes note of the common position aimed at harmonized application of the definition of the term "refugee" within the meaning of Article 1 of the Geneva Convention and calls for ratification of the Dublin Convention to be completed.
The European Council urges the Council to settle as soon as possible the issues outstanding with regard to the adoption of the Convention on persons crossing the external frontiers of the Member States of the European Union and welcomes the results achieved on visas.
The European Council took note of the results obtained on defining strategies to combat racism and xenophobia (Annex 4); it urges adoption of the Joint Action concerning action to combat racism and xenophobia with the aim of approximating Member States' laws and enhancing the opportunities for judicial assistance between the Member States in this area.
The European Council took note of the interim report from the Consultative Commission and instructs it to continue its proceedings on that basis and complete the feasibility study for a European Monitoring Centre on Racism and Xenophobia in time for the European Council meeting in June 1996.
The European Council took note of the comparative analysis and synthesis document on national measures taken to combat wastefulness and the misuse of Community resources, prepared by the Commission on the basis of reports from the Member States.
The European Council supports the conclusions approved by the Economic and Financial Affairs Council (Annex 5) and calls upon the Member States and the Institutions to adopt the necessary measures to ensure an equivalent level of protection throughout the Community and in the Community budget and the EDF as a whole.
The European Council also expresses satisfaction at the imminent adoption of the Regulation on the protection of the European Communities' financial interests and the signing of the relevant Convention.
It calls upon the Commission to submit a proposal shortly on checks and verifications in situ and requests the Economic and Financial Affairs Council to adopt those provisions before the European Council meeting in June.
The European Council also notes with satisfaction that consensus has been reached on an Additional Protocol to the Convention on the protection of the European Communities' financial interests which is designed to harmonize treatment of corruption on the part of both national and European officials and members of Community or national institutions and bodies as a criminal offence.
It calls upon the JHA Council to continue its proceedings in order to supplement the Convention, particularly in the field of judicial cooperation.
The European Council welcomes the Commission initiative on sound financial management and particularly its decision to establish a group of personal representatives to identify priority action at Community and national level with a view to improving budget execution and making good the shortcomings in financial management identified by the Court of Auditors.
It invites the Commission and the Council to examine the possibility of extending the system of clearance of accounts from agriculture to other sectors.
The European Council reaffirms the importance of preventing the imposition of unnecessary burdens on business activity, through a process of legislative and administrative simplification which must preserve the "acquis communautaire" and be accompanied by national measures contributing to the same objective. In this respect it refers to the Commission report on the report from the independent experts group.
It calls upon the Commission to table its new proposals for the consolidation of Community law and upon the Council to act as soon as possible.