Mr Aznar said that no subject was more important that the reunification of Europe, stressing that it was a "commitment and goal" of the Presidency to close negotiations with those candidate countries who would be ready to join the EU at the end of 2002. Apart from the ratification of the Treaty of Nice, which was "a must", Mr Aznar emphasised the three principles which underpinned the final phase of negotiations: "Differentiation, respecting the acquis communautaire and respecting Agenda 2000". From this perspective the European Council President said he was happy with the Commission's proposals, including those for the agricultural chapter. It was clear that direct payments were part of the acquis communautaire, he said, and that the benefits of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) in the past had always been recognised by new Member States. Mr Aznar was very cautious over the possible implications for the future reform of the CAP of a simplified system of decoupled aids for the candidate countries, commenting that, at this stage, the system for the current EU members did not need to be changed.Commenting on the follow-up to the March 2000 Lisbon European Council, the Spanish Premier declared that he expected to obtain concrete results at the Barcelona Summit. "My intention is not to push for solutions but to find a compromise", he stated, but not without tacitly criticising the attitude of France, the country which is the most reluctant to commit to full liberalisation of its markets for energy and transport. One could not have protected state predators and prey which does not have the same means to act, he said in a clear reference...

To continue reading

Request your trial

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT