PREPARATION FOR THE EUROPEAN COUNCIL MEETING IN TURIN AND THE INTERGOVERNMENTAL CONFERENCE

The Council took note of the information supplied by the Presidency on arrangements for the European Council meeting in Turin on 29 March 1996 and on progress with preparations for the Intergovernmental Conference.

The Presidency considered in particular that the European Council should adopt conclusions focusing on the major topics for the IGC as identified by the Reflection Group. Bilateral talks were currently under way between the Presidency and the Member States to prepare such conclusions.

The Presidency also put forward as a guide a schedule of meetings of the Conference at the level of Ministers and their Representatives for the period up to June 1996.

KEDO (Korean Peninsula Energy Development Organisation)

- COUNCIL CONCLUSIONS

The Council, following the conclusions reached by the European Council on 16 December 1995 that the European Union should participate in KEDO under conditions to be negotiated, reiterated by the Transatlantic Agenda signed in December 1995, agreed the following elements:

1. In accordance with KEDO objectives, the European Union will join in this international action of great significance in the field of nuclear non-proliferation and nuclear safety by contributing to the financing and supply of:

- interim energy alternatives in the DPRK,

- means existing within the European Union in the scientific, industrial and technological field.

2. To that end, the Union will rapidly determine the appropriate conditions for a substantial financial contribution by the EU to that initiative.

3. Given the need to give concrete expression to the abovementioned decision on the occasion of the Europe-Asia Summit in March 1996, an immediate contribution of ECU 5 million will be announced in Bangkok.

4. Simultaneously, on the basis of a mandate to be defined, consultations will be opened with the founding members of KEDO in order to:

- address the questions connected with future participation,

- in this context obtain a satisfactory status with regard to the KEDO organization corresponding with the EU effort.

It will be made sure that the Community and its Member States will not be held liable for any injury, loss or damage resulting from the activities and missions of KEDO.

5. The necessary funds for the immediate contribution of ECU 5 million will be charged to the general budget of the European Communities for 1996 (CFSP reserve).

PREPARATION FOR THE EUROPE­ASIA MEETING (ASEM)

The Council put the finishing touches to preparation of the European Union position for the Europe­Asia meeting in Bangkok on 1 and 2 March 1996 and instructed senior officials to continue preparatory talks with the Asian side on that basis.

REGIONAL COOPERATION WITH THE BALTIC SEA STATES

The Council reiterated the Union's interest in cooperation in the Baltic region. It took note of the preparations under way for the Conference of Heads of State and Government of the Baltic Sea Council to be held in Visby (Sweden) on 3 and 4 May 1996.

The Swedish delegation, currently holding the Presidency of the Baltic Sea Council, briefed Ministers on the topics to be discussed at the Visby Conference.

The Commission briefed the Council on progress with the regional cooperation initiative which it was currently preparing in response to the call by the European Council, meeting in Madrid, which expressed the Union's interest in promoting stability and economic development in the region. The Commission would be presenting that initiative at the Visby Conference and would subsequently report back to the Europe Council in Florence.

EU­MEXICO RELATIONS

The Council reviewed the main points still outstanding as regards negotiating directives for a new agreement with Mexico. These included the precise framing of the objective of the agreement and the procedures for implementing that objective.

It should be noted that the negotiation of a new political, economic and trade agreement comes in response to the joint solemn declaration signed by the EU and Mexico in Paris on 2 March 1995 and the Madrid European Council conclusions calling, in addition to a political dialogue, in particular for the progressive, reciprocal liberalization of trade in goods and services and of investment, having due regard to the sensitiveness of certain products and in accordance with relevant WTO rules.

At the end of discussions, the Council instructed the Permanent Representatives Committee to take the matter forward in the light of today's discussions and with the intention of coming to a conclusion at the earliest opportunity.

SOUTH AFRICA

The Council discussed in detail the problems still arising with regard to the adoption of supplementary directives for negotiations with South Africa, aimed at the establishment of a free­trade area compatible with WTO rules.

It had before it for the purpose a package put forward by the Presidency, which was regarded as a very sound basis on which to arrive at an overall compromise.

At the end of discussions, the Council instructed the Permanent Representatives Committee to complete drafting work on the negotiating directives in the firm resolve that they should be adopted swiftly, at the latest at the next General Affairs Council meeting, on 25 and 26 March 1996.

GREAT LAKES REGION

Further to its conclusions of 29 January 1996, the Council appointed Mr Aldo AJELLO as the European Union's special envoy for the African Great Lakes region with immediate effect, for a six­month period. Some administrative and financial aspects of his assignment had still to be spelt out under a joint action.

Mr AJELLO's first task would be to attend, at the OAU's invitation, the second meeting of the committee monitoring implementation of the action plan adopted by the regional conference on assistance for refugees, returnees and displaced persons in the Great Lakes region, held in Bujumbura in February 1995. That meeting was to be held at the end of the week in Addis Ababa and would be attended by the former President of Tanzania, Julius NYERERE.

FORMER YUGOSLAVIA

- COUNCIL CONCLUSIONS

1. The European Union reaffirms its full commitment to and support for the peace process in former Yugoslavia, both politically and in the context of international efforts to achieve economic rehabilitation. On the basis of a report from the Presidency, the Council examined the current stage of the peace process following the Rome Conference on 17 and 18 February 1996. It adopted the declaration on former Yugoslavia in the Annex hereto.

The peace agreement signed in Paris in December 1995 and consolidated in Rome in February 1996 opens the prospect of starting a process for ensuring lasting stability and good-neighbourly relations in the region. Compliance with and implementation of the peace agreement by the parties are preconditions for the development of cooperation. In this context the Council conclusions of 30 October 1995 remain fully applicable.

2. Further to those conclusions, the Commission submitted a report on the prospects for the development of cooperation between the countries of former Yugoslavia in the context of a broad approach to the region's future, and what the European Community and its Member States could do to foster such cooperation. The Council considers that the report will provide a very useful basis for the initiatives the Union will be called upon to take.

3. The regional approach should be directed primarily at those countries of the region for which the European Community has not adopted directives for the negotiation of association agreements. Neighbouring countries which so wish should be able to be associated in the cooperation by appropriate means.

Implementation of the broad approach, which must be carefully prepared through direct contacts between the European Union and the countries of the region, will be part of a gradual consolidation of peace. With this in mind, the agreements with each of the countries concerned must be designed as a substantial incentive to political stability and as an instrument for economic development and cooperation between them, between those countries and their neighbours, and with the European Union.

The agreements must be consistent, while taking account of the special nature of each country's individual situation. It must be clear that conclusion of these agreements will depend on the willingness of the countries concerned to work towards consolidating peace and to respect human rights, the rights of minorities and democratic principles.

Application of the agreements will be subject, particularly where economic cooperation is concerned, to the readiness of each of the countries concerned to cooperate with its neighbours. They will have to undertake to adopt reciprocal measures, particularly regarding the free movement of goods and persons and the provision of services, and to develop projects of common interest. Through this regional approach, financial aid from the European Union could be oriented towards jointly defined and cross-border projects.

4. Reconstruction in the countries of former Yugoslavia concerned is a way of supporting stable and harmonious economic development in the region. In view of its immediate needs, Bosnia-Herzegovina requires priority attention and a significant effort of rehabilitation before the elections, for the benefit of all ethnic groups. Without waiting for the outcome of the Donors' Conference, aid for the rehabilitation of Bosnia­Herzegovina - the bulk of which is currently being provided by the European Union - should be stepped up, as a supplement to Community programmes, to meet pressing needs, especially everything required to facilitate the resettlement of refugees and displaced persons.

It is thus important for the forthcoming Donors' Conference to assess how far the first­quarter pledges made at the December meeting have materialized, and for it to release the contributions for Bosnia-Herzegovina needed in 1996. In the coming weeks, the Community and its Member States will generally coordinate their efforts vis-à-vis the other donors in order to secure an equitable distribution of the burden.

Since reconstruction aid will be deployed through a number of multilateral and bilateral channels, its effectiveness - inter alia in fostering regional cooperation - will depend very much on how well the Commission and the Member States coordinate amongst themselves, and with the other donors and the World Bank. The Council notes that the Commission intends to keep it regularly briefed on the progress on the ground of Community operations, which will have to cover all devastated regions, including Eastern Slavonia.

5. The question of refugees and displaced persons is a key factor in the gradual consolidation of peace in the region. The Council emphasizes that it is important to cooperate closely with the UNHCR, which has a leading role in this field, and for the Community and its Member States to define a concerted position on how to encourage the return of refugees and displaced persons to their places of origin, including the readmission of nationals, in a humane manner based on the principles set out by the UN High Commissioner for Refugees. On this basis the European Union will be able to respond promptly and constructively to the detailed plan which the UNHCR is preparing to submit. It will ensure that humanitarian aid is closely coordinated with efforts to assist reconstruction.

6. The Union reiterates its support for the disarmament negotiations taking place in Vienna under Annex I/B to the Dayton/Paris agreements. In view, also, of the need to ensure that the peace process is implemented and that the security of the international troops and civilian personnel deployed on the ground is safeguarded, the Union considers that a policy of moderation on the part of arms­exporting countries will be needed even once the arms embargo on the states of former Yugoslavia, stipulated in UN Resolution No 1021, has been lifted. To that end the Council has adopted the common position on arms exports to former Yugoslavia annexed hereto.

The Council held an exchange of views on action to be taken on the declaration adopted at Royaumont on 13 December 1995 on the process of stability and good­neighbourly relations in South Eastern Europe. It approved the annexed platform, particularly with regard to the holding of an identification meeting bringing together all participants in the process, and considered that this approach was likely to make a useful contribution to the peace process in former Yugoslavia.

The President of the International War Crimes Tribunal on the former Yugoslavia, Professor Cassese, reported to the Council on the most recent developments regarding the Tribunal's activities. The Council assured him of the Union's support and, in particular, agreed on the need to keep up pressure on all parties concerned to cooperate fully and unconditionally with the Tribunal on the basis of the commitments given under the peace agreements.

7. In conclusion, the Council

- calls on the Commission to prepare, within the framework of the future UNHCR plan, projects to facilitate the return of refugees and displaced persons by initial rehabilitation efforts in their places of origin;

- calls on the Presidency and the Commission, in cooperation with the High Representative, to make political representations at the earliest opportunity on the basis of the approach in point 4 above to third-country donors to ensure that the next Ministerial Donors' Conference is completely successful; Member States will support these representations in their own contacts;

- calls on the Presidency and the Commission to take all appropriate initiatives to acquaint the States concerned with the content of the broad approach to the region's future and to report to the Council before the end of June. In due course the Commission will prepare draft negotiating directives, on the basis of these guidelines, so that negotiations can then begin with all the countries concerned which accept this broad approach and meet the requisite conditions;

- calls on the Presidency to promote the policy of moderation as regards arms exports to the former Yugoslavia, which is the subject of the common position adopted by the Council on the establishment of a stable military balance based on the lowest possible level of arms;

- calls on the Presidency and the Commission to initiate contacts with all participants, on the basis of the platform for the development of the process of stability and good­neighbourly relations in South Eastern Europe, in preparation for the holding of an "identification meeting", and to submit a report to the next Council meeting;

- has decided that a joint mission will be undertaken by the European Special Envoy and the Presidency's Coordinator for Mostar, with the aim of studying the recommendations of the European Administrator on the future of the Administration of Mostar.

ANNEX I

DECLARATION ON FORMER YUGOSLAVIA

The European Union warmly welcomes the results of the compliance Conference on Bosnia and Herzegovina held on 17-18 February in Rome. It expresses its satisfaction at the renewed commitment of the parties to respect fully their obligations as regards both the military and the civilian aspects of the peace process. It welcomes the support given by the parties concerned to the Rome statement on Sarajevo, as well as the agreement reached on the speedy implementation of the Croat-Muslim Federation and the joint statement of President Tudjman and President Milosevic on the normalization of relations between the Republic of Croatia and the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia.

The Union expects all the parties to give full and prompt effect to the commitments they have undertaken. It recalls its often stated position, notably as regards the criteria of conditionality for the granting of reconstruction assistance and longer term measures, as well as for the definition of future agreements with the countries of the area. In the event of non-compliance by any of the parties with their commitments in the Peace Agreement or undertakings at the Rome Summit, the EU in consultation with the international community will consider taking specific measures in response.

The Union calls in particular on the Bosnian Serb side to continue full contacts and cooperation with IFOR and the High Representative and to ensure its participation in all joint commissions, as well as in the Vienna negotiations on sub-regional arms control.

Concerning Sarajevo, the Union expresses its full support for the efforts of the High Representative aimed to promote reconciliation and to preserve the multi-ethnic character of the city. It deplores the exodus and the pressure that led to it and expects the Bosnian Government and the Bosnian Serb authorities to take all necessary steps to increase confidence so as to induce the Serb citizens of Sarajevo to remain in the Bosnian capital in order to participate in the process of reconciliation and reconstruction.

The European Union expresses particular satisfaction with the Rome agreement on Mostar of 18 February. This agreement opens the way to the full achievement of the objectives of the European Administration, to which the Union remains strongly dedicated. The Union welcomes the implementation of those provisions related to the initial deployment of the unified police force and the entering into force of the freedom of movement. The Union calls on the parties to abide also by all the other obligations arising from the Rome agreement and to fully respect all the decisions of the EU Administrator, to whom it confirms its strong support, and to fully guarantee his security. The European Union asks the EU Administrator to continue his activities aiming at achieving the objectives set out in the Washington and Rome agreements, in particular, the holding of democratic elections in May.

The Council has with regret taken note of Mr Koschnick's resignation from his office as EU Administrator and welcomes his agreement to stay on until a successor has been nominated.

Compliance with the Rome agreements will be considered an essential element in the definition of the Union's future relations with each of the parties concerned. The European Union takes note of the request of the parties to prolong for six months the mandate of the EU administration. It will consider such a request in due course, not least in the light of the behaviour of the parties towards the implementation of the Washington and Rome agreements and the achievement of the objectives of the EU administration.

ANNEX II

COMMON POSITION concerning arms exports to the former Yugoslavia

THE COUNCIL OF THE EUROPEAN UNION,

Having regard to the Treaty on European Union, and in particular Article J.2 thereof,

Having regard to Resolution No 1021 adopted on 22 November 1995 by the United Nations Security Council,

Whereas the European Community and its Member States decided on 5 July 1991 to impose an embargo on armaments and military equipment applicable to the whole of Yugoslavia,

HAS DEFINED THE FOLLOWING COMMON POSITION:

1. With a view to establishing peace and stability for the people of the region of the former Yugoslavia, and in particular taking into account the need to ensure the safety of the international troops and civilian personnel deployed in Bosnia and Herzegovina and Croatia during the implementation of the peace agreement, the European Union believes that restraint on the part of exporting countries will be needed even after the UN arms embargo on the States of the former Yugoslavia is lifted in accordance with UN Security Council Resolution No 1021.

2. The Council of the European Union therefore decides that:

(i) during the period of the deployment of IFOR and UNTAES, as well as other operations including IPTF, the EU embargo on arms, munitions and military equipment () will be maintained towards Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia and the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia.

Transfers of equipment needed for demining activities are not covered by this embargo. Member States will inform the Council of these transfers;

(ii) subject to the provisions of UN Security Council Resolution No 1021 () licence applications for exports to Slovenia and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) shall be considered on a case­by­case basis.

This provision is adopted on the understanding that the Member States will show restraint in their arms export policy toward Slovenia and the former Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) based on the common criteria for arms exports contained in the 28 and 29 June 1991 Luxembourg European Council and the 26 and 27 June 1992 Lisbon European Council conclusions. They will also take into account the objectives of the European Union policy in the region, fundamentally aimed at pacification and stabilization in the area, including the need for arms control and reduction to the lowest level and confidence building measures;

(iii) the European Union will deploy efforts to encourage other countries to adopt a similar policy of restraint.

3. This common position shall be reexamined before the end of the deployment of IFOR and UNTAES.

4. This common position shall enter into force on 13 March 1996.

5. This common position shall be published in the Official Journal.


ANNEX III

Process of stability and good-neighbourly relations in South-Eastern Europe:

Platform for the development of the process for possible submission to all participants

The process of stability and good-neighbourly relations in South-Eastern Europe is to be seen in relation to the peace plan for Bosnia and Herzegovina, and in particular takes as its reference the outcome of the mid-term review conference to be held in Rome in June.

The initiative could be incorporated into the wider context of regional cooperation, as approved by the Council on 29 January 1996.

The process is in no sense a roundabout attempt to reconstitute the former Yugoslavia, nor is it intended to deal with the questions at the heart of the conflict, i.e. minorities and frontiers.

The process offers an all-embracing approach which avoids the obstacle in order better to overcome it. In addition, implementation of the process must not provide the FRY with a pretext for raising the question of its place in the OSCE.

1. Object of the exercise

The process inaugurated at Royaumont calls for a joint and continuing effort to strengthen stability and good-neighbourliness in South-East Europe. More specifically, it should try to contribute to reducing the tensions arising from the conflict and preventing a resumption of hostilities, promote a better understanding that it is in the interest of each party to cooperate rather than to try systematically to put obstacles in the way of any undertaking by a neighbour, contribute to restoring confidence and dialogue, and overcome ethnic divisions and hatreds.

2. Interaction with the peace plan

The process of stability:

- follows a path parallel to the peace plan, the implementation of which it endeavours to facilitate by encouraging the parties to take a step back from the present situation and widen their horizons;

- endeavours to add to and accompany the provisions of the peace plan and prolong its effects, by helping to reduce tensions and encourage a return to normality. In this way it does not in any way interfere with the peace plan's provisions and in no way diminishes the obligations undertaken by the parties. On the contrary, it is designed to fit in with the political and time framework of the peace plan's implementation, on the basis in particular of the outcome of the mid-term review conference at the beginning of June.

3. Incorporation into the OSCE

In accordance with the Royaumont declaration, it is envisaged that the process will be incorporated into the OSCE as soon as all the relevant details have been precisely laid down.

The OSCE was present at Royaumont and is also invited to forthcoming meetings. Greater emphasis could be placed on its presence if it were entrusted now with the task of acting as secretariat for the group, to keep track of the activities and projects which it will initiate, and receive new proposals.

4. Scope

This at present coincides with the field covered by the peace agreements. Stabilization efforts thus concern above all Bosnia and Herzegovina and the immediately adjacent area. They must be applied to the situations and questions resulting from the conflict which broke out in 1991 in the SFRY.

5. Status of participants

As the Royaumont declaration states, "all States of the region will be represented on an equal footing". Thus no hierarchy or distinction should be introduced between participants. The list of participants will be drawn up in alphabetical order.

Each participating State or organization is involved as a result of its situation with regard to the problems being considered and is required to contribute to the exercise in accordance with its wishes and capacities.

6. Accompanying measures

As in the Pact on Stability in Europe, accompanying measures will be introduced to finance good-neighbourliness and regional cooperation projects.

7. Identification meeting

Signals which have been received since the signing of the peace plan are an encouragement to go ahead and give practical content to the provisions set out at Royaumont. An "identification meeting" could be held to this end, bringing together all the States and organizations present at the Royaumont meeting (see list below), represented by senior officials concerned with political and European affairs or relations with neighbouring States, at a date and time to be decided. The purpose of the meeting would be to develop the discussion begun in Paris, on 12 December 1995, on the nature and scope of the exercise, to identify the topics to be reflected on, determine practical initiatives which could be taken in coming months on the basis of the content of this platform, and examine the possibility of a follow-up to these initiatives in terms of a timetable to be kept to.

At the meeting the participants could in particular draw up a preliminary list and a preliminary timetable for regional and interprofessional meetings which might be organized in the hoped-for spirit, and adopt an initial group of specific projects envisaged by the Member States to be proposed by the Commission as accompanying measures.

8. Possible content

At this stage, the following possibilities should be explored:

- Progressive restoration of the movement of people and ideas, in particular relating to information;

- Organization of regional meetings, restoration of dialogue between different elements of society (intellectuals, journalists, religious figures);

- Provisions to ban propaganda promoting aggression;

- Relaunching regional, cultural, scientific and technical cooperation;

- Initial identification of specific cross-border projects;

- Cooperation in re-establishing civil society, especially in areas of justice and administration (conjointly with the programmes developed by the Council of Europe).

List of participants invited to the "identification meeting"

Albania, Federal Republic of Germany, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Council of Europe, Denmark, United States of America, France, Greece, Italy/European Union, FYROM, OSCE (Presidency, Secretary-General and HCNM), Portugal, Russian Federation, Sweden, FRY, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Spain, Finland, United Kingdom, Ireland, Hungary, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Romania, Slovenia, Turkey.

ASSOCIATION COUNCIL MEETINGS WITH ROMANIA AND WITH SLOVAKIA

The Council approved the EU positions for the 2nd Association Council meeting with Romania (see press release UE­RO 1802/96 Presse 35) and the 2nd Association Council meeting with Slovakia (see press release UE­SK 2003/96 Presse 34), which were held on the morning of 27 February 1996.

The topics on the agenda for the two meetings were as follows: pre­accession strategy in the light of the Madrid European Council conclusions, the state of bilateral relations under the Europe Agreements and regional cooperation.

STRUCTURED DIALOGUE: JOINT MEETING WITH THE ASSOCIATED CCEE

In preparation for the structured dialogue meeting of Ministers for Foreign Affairs with the associated CCEE scheduled for 27 February 1996, the Council agreed to the position to be put forward by the EU at that meeting.

The joint ministerial meeting with the nine associated CCEE was held on the morning of 27 February 1996. Discussions covered possible improvements in structured dialogue ministerial meetings at sectoral level, the situation in the former Yugoslavia and the 1996 Intergovernmental Conference.

With regard to improvement of the structured dialogue, the European Union put forward practical proposals along the lines laid down by the European Council in Essen. The basic idea was to enable the Ministers for Foreign Affairs to form an overview of the work to be carried out in sectoral meetings, with greater involvement of the associated countries.

The aim was to establish an indicative overall planning framework for proceedings over a period spanning two Presidencies, with the discussion topics to be addressed by sectoral meetings being limited and clearly pinned down. In order for the ministerial meetings to be able to take the form of a genuine dialogue conducted on the basis of reference material available to all delegations, the Commission was asked to draw up factual background documents to serve as a basis for discussions. The Council Presidency would endeavour to make more clearly targeted concluding remarks at the end of each meeting.

Those suggestions were welcomed by the associated countries, on the understanding that these points were open to review in the light of experience.

With regard to the situation in former Yugoslavia, Susanna Agnelli briefed the CCEE in particular on the outcome of the Council's discussions the previous day (pages 9 to 18). A wide­ranging exchange of views ensued, in which the CCEE generally endorsed the Union's approach. With particular reference to arms exports to former Yugoslavia, a number of delegations gave their backing straight away to the common position adopted by the Union in this respect (see the declaration below).

On the Intergovernmental Conference, the Presidency briefed the CCEE, over lunch, in particular on arrangements for the European Council meeting in Turin on 29 March 1996 and on progress with preparations for the IGC. It also assured the associated countries that they would be kept in touch with progress at the Conference and would have a chance to put forward their views.

ARMS EXPORTS TO FORMER YUGOSLAVIA

- DECLARATION BY THE EUROPEAN UNION AND THE ASSOCIATED COUNTRIES OF CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE

The European Union and the associated countries of Central and Eastern Europe, meeting in Brussels on 27 February 1996 in the framework of the structured dialogue, reaffirm their goal of making a decisive contribution towards ensuring the establishment of peace and stability for the people of the region of the former Yugoslavia.

To this end:

- The European Union invited the associated countries of Central and Eastern Europe to share the objectives of the common position defined by the Council of the European Union on 26 February 1996 on the basis of Article J.2 of the Treaty on European Union concerning arms exports to the former Yugoslavia, and to ensure that their national policies conform to that common position; Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania and Slovakia declared their readiness to do so.

- The European Union takes note of this undertaking and welcomes it; it recalls that the Council Presidency has been invited to promote the policy of moderation as regards arms exports to the former Yugoslavia, which is the object of the above common position, with the aim of establishing a stable military equilibrium at the lowest possible level of armaments.

RATIFICATION OF THE DECISION ON OWN RESOURCES

The Council took note of information from the Netherlands delegation, as the only Member State not yet to have ratified the Decision on own resources, on progress with the procedure under way in the Netherlands parliament: the lower house had already given its agreement in December 1995 and the upper house should be completing ratification very shortly.

MOROCCO: EURO­MEDITERRANEAN AGREEMENT AND FISHERIES AGREEMENT

The Council approved the outcome of negotiations, as reported by the Commission, for:

- the Euro­Mediterranean Agreement establishing an association between the European Union and its Member States and the Kingdom of Morocco, and

- the Agreement on cooperation in sea fisheries between the European Community and the Kingdom of Morocco.

It decided to sign the Agreements, which was done on 26 February 1996 alongside the Council meeting (see CE­Maroc 2701/96 Presse 46).

It also sought the European Parliament's assent to the Agreements in question.

SHOOTING DOWN OF TWO CIVILIAN AIRCRAFT BY THE CUBAN AUTHORITIES

- DECLARATION BY THE EUROPEAN UNION

The European Union strongly condemns the shooting down of two civilian aircraft on Saturday by the Cuban airforce. It regrets the deaths of the four people on board the aircraft and calls for moderation and restraint from all involved in the handling of this incident.

The EU requests that an immediate investigation be carried out in order to ascertain the details and responsibilities in this case.

Irrespective of the circumstances of the incident, there can be no excuse for not respecting international law and human rights norms.

BOMB ATTACKS IN JERUSALEM AND ASHQELON

- DECLARATION BY THE EUROPEAN UNION

The European Union expresses its revulsion at the criminal and cowardly attacks perpetrated on 25 February in Jerusalem and Ashqelon. It condemns in the strongest terms these acts of terrorism. It sends its sincere condolences to the families of the victims and to the Government and people of Israel and expresses its hopes for the recovery of the wounded.

Decisive action is required by everybody who is in a position to control or combat the terrorist elements opposed to the Peace Process. The European Union acknowledges the efforts which the Palestian Authority and President Arafat have already made to combat terrorism, but urges on them the need to make them more effective and to step up their action in this regard in line with the Oslo Agreements.

At this sad moment, the European Union reaffirms its conviction and hope that those in favour of the Peace Process will continue to take it forward. Otherwise they will play into the hands of the criminals who have committed these and previous attacks and those who oppose the Peace Process. The European Union pays tribute to all those courageous leaders who have chosen the way of dialogue and peace and are upholding it and reaffirms its full support for them.

MISCELLANEOUS DECISIONS

(Adopted without discussion. In the case of legislative acts, any votes against or abstentions are indicated. Decisions involving any statements which the Council has decided may be released to the public are marked with an asterisk; the statements in question may be obtained from the Press Office.)

Corn gluten feed

The Council amended Regulation (EEC) No 2658/87 on the tariff and statistical nomenclature and on the Common Customs Tariff in response to the annulment by the Court of Justice on 14 December 1995 of Commission Regulation (EC) No 1641/94; the purpose of the amendment is to create a new tariff heading for corn gluten feed as defined in the Blair House Agreement.

India and Pakistan: textile product access

The Council decided to conclude Memoranda of Understanding on arrangements in the area of market access for textile products between the EC and India and between the EC and Pakistan.

Negotiations on the Memoranda of Understanding were opened by the Community with India and Pakistan under the Uruguay Round but were not completed in time for inclusion in the final package adopted in Marrakesh on 15 April 1994. The Commission therefore continued negotiations after that date and was able to initial Memoranda of Understanding with Pakistan on 15 October 1994 and with India on 31 December 1994. For technical, notably linguistic, reasons, the proposal for a Decision on the conclusion of the Memoranda of Understanding was not submitted to the Council until December 1995.

Under the Memoranda of Understanding, the import tariffs imposed by India and Pakistan are to be reduced and all quantitative restrictions abolished. In return, restrictions on imports into the Community of handwoven products will be removed and the adjustments requested by India and Pakistan in the administration of quotas (carryovers, transfers between categories and advance use) will be given careful consideration.

Uzbekistan: partnership agreement

The Council agreed to the Commission's recommendation for the opening of negotiations with Uzbekistan for a partnership and cooperation agreement on the basis of the negotiating directives drawn up in 1992.

The Commission's recommendation follows its exploratory talks with Uzbekistan on the basis of the Council conclusions of 12 June 1995 with particular regard to the progress of democratic reforms.

Switzerland: mutual assistance in customs matters

The Council authorized the Commission to negotiate with Switzerland an amendment to the Free­Trade Agreement of 22 July 1977 in order to add a new Protocol on mutual assistance in customs matters.

Canary Islands: derogation from anti­dumping measures

The Council amended Regulation (EEC) No 1602/92 temporarily derogating from implementation of Community anti­dumping measures on imports into the Canary Islands of certain sensitive products. That Regulation initially involved total exemption from payment of anti­dumping duties, moving on to phase them in over an intermediate stage culminating in their collection in full as from 1 January 2000.

The purpose of the amendment made is, in substance, to allow Canary traders a further year to adjust to the new tariff arrangements being introduced, by rescheduling the special arrangements for anti­dumping duties within the transitional period ending on 31 December 2000.

Contractual netting*

At the end of the co­decision procedure, the Council unanimously adopted the Directive amending Directive 89/647/EEC as regards recognition of contractual netting by the competent authorities.

The Directive as adopted includes an amendment proposed by the European Parliament on 14 December 1995 to the common position adopted by the Council on 5 September 1995, making transposition of the Directive compulsory in Member States.

The purpose of the amendment of Directive 89/647/EEC on a solvency ratio for credit institutions is to incorporate into Community legislation the outcome of work in the Basle Committee on Banking Supervision with regard to the recognition, in calculating capital adequacy requirements, of a greater number of forms of bilateral netting.

Netting is a kind of contractual clearing agreed between a bank and its counterparty (e.g. another bank) so as to calculate, at the end of a given period, the funds payable to either of them as a result of numerous transactions between them. It gives rise either to a new credit extinguishing earlier contracts or to a net sum payable by the debtor. Such clearing serves to reduce the risk attaching to credit institutions' derivatives business.

Supervision of EDU activities

The Council approved some arrangements for supervision of the Europol Drugs Unit's activities. As such supervision comes within its sphere, the Council is to give guidance for EDU activities, approve them and, if need be, amend them on the basis of discussions taking place in particular within the Europol Working Party or specific subgroups.

Report on the Europol computer system

The Council approved a report on the Europol computer system. The report states that the initial stage of planning the Europol computer system is now under way and it contains arrangements envisaged for running the project in 1996. The Council also approved the additional appropriations proposed for the budget for 1996.

Implementation of the computer system project, which should take about two years, is crucially important for the actual start­up of Europol after ratification. In the first year it will require funding of up to ECU 1,4 million, this being new money in addition to the EDU budget already approved for 1996, which was established to cover EDU day­to­day needs only.

Proceedings by the Council against the European Parliament: SAB No 1/95

The Council decided to withdraw the second proceedings brought by it for annulment of supplementary and amending budget No 1 for 1995, which became unnecessary following the declaration of final adoption of the budget for 1995, of which the Council was informed in the European Parliament's letter of 31 January 1996.

Committee on monetary, financial and balance of payments statistics

The Council amended Decision 91/115/EEC establishing a Committee on monetary, financial and balance of payments statistics, in order to enable the European Monetary Institute to take part in the Committee's proceedings.

Directive on textile names and Directive on certain methods for the quantitative analysis of binary textile fibre mixtures

The Council agreed to common positions on the:

- Directive on textile names;

- Directive on certain methods for the quantitative analysis of binary textile fibre mixtures.

The common positions will be forwarded to the European Parliament under the co­decision procedure (Article 189b of the Treaty).

The purpose of the Directive on textile names is to consolidate, for the sake of clarity and rationalization, Directive 71/307/EEC of 26 July 1971 on the approximation of the laws of the Member States relating to textile names, as repeatedly and substantially amended.

The Directive on certain methods for the quantitative analysis of binary textile fibre mixtures is intended to consolidate Directive 72/276/EEC of 17 July 1972 on the approximation of the relevant laws of the Member States, as also repeatedly amended.

The aim, in practice, is to ensure the proper operation of the internal market and to adapt legislation to technical progress in this field.

UNCTAD IX: guidelines for the EU's basic position

The Council agreed to the guidelines for the EU's basic position on the agenda for the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (9th session), to be held in Midrand, South Africa, from 27 April to 11 May 1996.

The Conference agenda topics are as follows:

- development policies and strategies in an increasingly interdependent world economy in the 1990s and beyond:

= assessment of the development problem in the current context;

= policies and strategies for the future;

- promoting international trade as an instrument for development in the post­Uruguay­Round world;

- promoting enterprise development and competitiveness in developing countries and countries in transition;

- future work of UNCTAD in accordance with its mandate: institutional implications.

ECSC

The Council gave its assent, under Article 56(2)(a) of the ECSC Treaty, to the granting of global loans to the following financial institutions:

- Banco de Fomento e Exterior (global loan No 626);

- Bank of Scotland (global loan No 660);

- Commerzbank AG (global loan No 664);

- Saarländische Investitionsbank (global loan No 668);

- National Westminster Bank (global loan No 672);

- Österreichische Investitionskredit AG (global loan No 674);

- Bank Austria AG (global loan No 676);

- Dresdner Bank AG (global loan No 678);

- Barclays Bank (global loan No 662);

- Westdeutsche Landesbank (global loan No 666);

- BfG Bank AG (global loan No 670);

- Kredietbank SA (global loan No 680).

Transport: driving licences

Following political agreement at its meeting on 7 December 1995 (see press release 12302/95 Presse 357, page 7), the Council formally adopted its common position for the amendment of Directive 91/439/EEC on driving licences.

Research: Agreement with Canada

The Council approved the Agreement for Scientific and Technological Cooperation between the European Community and Canada.

The Agreement, already signed by the Commission on behalf of the Community on 17 June 1995, is for an indefinite period and covers the following fields in particular:

- agriculture and fisheries;

- medical and health research;

- non­nuclear energy;

- the environment (including earth observation);

- forestry;

- information technology;

- communications technology;

- telematics for economic and social development;

- mineral processing.

Forms of cooperation may include participation by persons, institutes, businesses, etc., in Community or Canadian research projects as well as shared use of research facilities.

Appointments

The Council adopted Decisions appointing to the Committee of the Regions:

- Bruno BRACALENTE, alternate member, to replace Claudio CARNIERI for the remainder of his term of office, which ends on 25 January 1998;

- Evangelos KOULOUMPIS, alternate member, to replace Maria VOURNOU for the remainder of her term of office, which ends on 25 January 1998;

- Nikos TABAKIDIS, alternate member, to replace Konstantinos PONGAS for the remainder of his term of office, which ends on 25 January 1998.