Dáil Éireann - Volume 567 - 29 May, 2003

Written Answers. - EU Summits.

  85. Mr. Broughan asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs the likely agenda and the Government's priorities for the forthcoming EU Summit in Thessalonika; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [14741/03]

  Minister for Foreign Affairs (Mr. Cowen): At its meeting in Thessalonika, on 20-21 June, the European Council is expected to address a range of issues on the EU's agenda. The priority issue for discussion is expected to be the draft constitutional treaty to be presented by the European Convention. The European Council is due to hear a presentation by the convention President, Mr. Valéry Giscard d'Estaing, and discuss the final document containing the outcome of the convention's work. The Council is expected to take decisions in regard to the launching of the Intergovernmental Conference, which is due to follow the convention.

  Other items on the Council's agenda include asylum and immigration. It is also expected to take stock of progress being made on the enlargement process.

  On the follow-up of the spring European Council, the Council is expected to endorse, as is customary, the draft broad economic policy guidelines and the draft employment guidelines. The Council is also expected to welcome, on the basis of a report to be submitted by the Presidency, progress achieved in implementing the various remits from the spring European Council, as well as certain other remits linked to the Lisbon Strategy.

  In the field of external relations the Council is due to discuss a range of issues, including the [1711]Middle East, Iraq, North Korea and the western Balkans. It is also due to discuss EU-US relations in view of a summit on 25 June. The implementation of the EU common strategy on Russia will also be considered.

  In the area of European security and defence policy, the Council is due to take note of, and where appropriate endorse, the regular reports on progress achieved on developing ESDP. It will also receive a report on implementation of the EU Programme for the Prevention of Violent Conflicts and consider recommendations from the High Representative for an overall strategy in the field of foreign policy. In this context, the Council is expected to agree a number of basic principles for a comprehensive, coherent and effective European policy on weapons of mass destruction.

  The European Council is likely to address, if necessary, issues arising out of the latest developments on the international scene.

  Question No. 86 answered with Question No. 64.

  Question No. 87 answered with Question No. 35.