Annex to the letter written by Commissioner Oreja in October 1996.

1. Legal basis: Article N.2 of the Treaty of Maastricht

2. Purposes of the conference:

  • to overhaul the Treaty so as to bring it closer to the ordinary citizen and make it more democratic and effective;

  • to equip the Union with the resources to conduct a proper common foreign and security policy and common defence policy;

  • to prepare the ground for the expansion of the union to include the 12 countries which have applied to join it.

3. Procedural stages:

  • 24 June 1994: the Corfu European Council, which set up a Reflection Group to draft the topics for the Conference;

  • 2 June 1995 (40 years on from the Messina Conference, which prepared the ground for the Treaty establishing the European Economic Community and the Euratom Treaty);

  • 15 December 1995: meeting of the Reflection Group with Mr Westendorp, a Spanish minister, in the chair;

  • 8 January 1996 - 29 March 1996: the official decision to call the Conference, the drafting of opinions by the Commission, the European Parliament and the other institutions in preparation for the Conference;

  • 29 March 1996: the Turin European Council, which opened the Conference, and the first meeting of the Group of Representatives;

  • 24 June 1996: the Florence European Council;

  • 5 October: Dublin European Council I;

  • 13 and 14 December 1996: Dublin European Council II, which is due to consider a detailed draft of amendments to the Treaty;

  • June 1997: Amsterdam European Council, which will probably be the end of the Conference.

The work of the Conference is going forward ontwo levels:

  • Foreign Ministers, who meet once a month;

  • Ministers' representatives (State Secretaries or Ambassadors + a Member of the Commission), who meet once a week.

For further information, please contact M Denuit, Secretariat at the European Commission, Directorate General X on fax: +32 2 299 49 90.