Other Asian countries
The 25-nation summit in Bangkok between European and Asian leaders at the beginning of March 1996 was a major step towards widening and deepening the dialogue between the two regions. The meeting brought together the 15 EU members with the seven members of ASEAN as well as China, Japan and Vietnam. It will be followed by a similar meeting in the United Kingdom in 1998 and another in South Korea in 2000.
Other initiatives agreed in Bangkok include preparing an Asia-Europe investment promotion action plan, creating an Asia-Europe business forum, setting up an Asia-Europe environment technology centre to support joint research and development in this area and launching an Asia-Europe Foundation to promote cultural exchanges of all kinds between the different participating countries.
Asian countries are the largest beneficiaries of the Union's generalized system of preferences (GSP) scheme which has been in operation since 1971 and allows imports from developing countries to enter the Union either duty-free or at reduced tariff rates.
Australia and New Zealand
The political dialogue with Australia has been strengthened in recent years to the extent that there are usually two ministerial-level meetings a year between the two aides. A European Parliament delegation visits Australia every two years while an Australian parliamentary group visits Europe every year.
The EU is Australia's most important economic partner taking into account the volume of trade in goods and services and exchanges of investment. Meanwhile, bilateral cooperation covers science and technology, industrial cooperation, coordination of development aid in the Pacific region and energy and environmental matters.
Cooperation between the EU and New Zealand is based on preferential agreements, largely focused on agricultural products. Thus, butter and lamb imports into the EU from New Zealand have enjoyed preferential access for many years. In 1991, the two sides signed a scientific and technical cooperation agreement covering agriculture, biomass, biotechnology, environment, forests, renewable sources of energy and information technologies.
The African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP)
Seventy ACP countries are signatories to the fourth Lomé Convention (the first was launched in 1975 and the present Convention runs until 2000) which frees 99.5% of their exports to the Union from customs duties and does not require them to make balancing concessions. Funds allocated for development aid totalled ECU 12 billion for 1990-95.
All Latin American countries benefit from the generalized system of preferences while 14 countries are covered by specific regional economic and trade cooperation agreements. Trade between the EU and Latin America is worth more than ECU 45 billion and the region has been one of the fastest growing markets for European exports. Trade with the EU accounts for more than 20% of total Latin American imports and exports, but it is less than 5% of the Union's external trade.
Common foreign and security policy
World events are constantly challenging the Union to act with the determination and cohesion expected of a world entity of its population size and economic strength. The Treaty on European Union, which came into force in November 1993, responded by fixing as a Union objective 'the implementation of a common foreign and security policy including the eventual framing of a common defence policy'.
The Treaty says that the objectives of a CFSP are:
to safeguard the common values, fundamental interests and independence of the Union;
to strengthen the security of the Union and its Member States in all ways;
to preserve peace and strengthen international security, in accordance with the principles of the United Nations Charter as well as the principles of the Helsinki Final Act and the objectives of the Paris Charter;
to promote international cooperation;
to develope and consolidate democracy and the rule of law, and respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms.
The common foreign and security policy and its instruments
Decision-making - it is the European Council of Heads of State or Government and the Council of Ministers which have overall control: the European Council only defines the principles and general guidelines for CFSP. However, the European Commission participates in all discussions, as well as the European Parliament, but it has no direct powers.
Common positions - once a common position has been defined by the Council, Member States must ensure that their national policies conform to it.
Joint actions - these commit the Member States to acting in a certain way in support of a common position. These included the convoying of humanitarian aid in Bosnia-Herzegovina and sending observers to parliamentary elections in Russia. The Stability Pact for Central Europe, was the result of a successful joint action.
Реферат опубликован: 5/08/2006