Luxembourg, 11 December 1997

President Valery Giscard D'Estaing's Presentation
to the Presidency of the EU

Meeting on the eve of the European Council in Luxembourg under the presidency of Valéry Giscard d'Estaing, the Executive Bureau of the Council of European Municipalities and Regions:

  1. REITERATES its commitment to the European unification process, an essential element for peace and stability on our continent, and believes that enlargement constitutes an essential moral, political and economic objective for the European Union, and thus a vital step for European construction.

  2. EXPRESSES ITS SATISFACTION with the fact that under the Agenda 2000 framework, and following the same logic and timetable, the Union is taking on the revision of the Structural Funds, the future of European financing, and the enlargement of the Union. CEMR launched an extensive discussion on these themes, particularly on the aspects relating to the Structural Funds, which are to be the focus of a large conference of cities and regions in London in February 1998.

  3. RECALLS that in Thessaloniki in 1996, the XXth General Assembly of European Municipalities and Regions asked that the Union "be given the capacity and the means to decide and to act, particularly in relation to future enlargement which requires a politically and institutionally strengthened European Union".

  4. EMPHASISES in this spirit that the strengthening of the Community must be undertaken at the same time as enlargement, which presumes the reform of the Union's Institutions. It asks that prior to any enlargement, a definitive agreement be implemented on the following points, in keeping with the wish expressed by the European Parliament:

    • the weighting of votes within the Council;
    • an increase in majority voting;
    • the strengthening of joint decision-making procedures;
    • the sole means with which to avoid the foreseeable paralysis of an enlarged Union.

  5. WELCOMES the process of opening negotiations with the candidate countries being launched by the European Council in Luxembourg, on the basis of the Commission's proposals, and calls on the Heads of State and Government to not exclude, in view of the long-term process, any candidate country.

  6. EMPHASISES that the guarantee of respect for local self-government, as defined in the Charter of the Council of Europe and ratified by all the candidate countries, is indivisible from the rule of law, and constitutes one of the criterion which must take precedence in the decision with regard to membership for the candidate countries. In our opinion, the integration of these principles should be necessary to the future revision of the Treaty.

  7. CONFIRMS, in this respect, its commitment to the participation of local and regional authorities from the candidate countries, with regard to the areas which fall under their jurisdiction, in this enlargement movement which can only succeed with the complete commitment of the citizens.

  8. RECALLS that the representative national associations of local and regional authorities in most of the candidate countries already participates in CEMR activities, and thus keeps themselves informed about the Community dossiers and the work of the Committee of the Regions, to which they could become systematically associated by granting them observer status.

  9. ASKS the Heads of State and Government, with respect for the principle of subsidiarity, that all provisions be implemented in order to favour the act of bringing the populations closer together and to promote the exchange of expertise and know-how between local and regional authorities.