Summary: July 3, 2003: Joint resolution on the European Council of Thessaloniki (19-20 June 2003) : the vote (Strasbourg)
Motions for resolutions on the European Council of 20/21 June 2003 in Thessaloniki
Doc.: B5-0325/2003, B5-0327/2003, B5-0331/2003, B5-0333/2003, B5-0335/2003, B5-0340/20
Debate : 01.07.2003
In a joint resolution by four political groups (EPP-ED, PSE, ELDR, UEN) adopted by 327 to 92 and 47 abstentions Parliament welcomes the European Council’s decision on the draft Treaty establishing a Constitution for Europe and takes the view that the latter must form the sole basis for the work of the Intergovernmental Conference (§ 1). At the same time it warns against unpicking the essential elements of the package achieved by the Convention (§ 2).
The Intergovernmental Conference should be convened by the Italian Presidency at a high political level as soon as possible, with the Accession States taking a full and equal part, so that it can finish before the end of 2003 (§ 4), says Parliament, while recalling that it has become established practice that the Commission and Parliament participate in Intergovernmental Conferences by sending MEPs as its representatives to the IGC and by having the President of Parliament participating in meetings held at the level of Heads of Government (§ 5).
On the issue of immigration, frontiers and asylum, Parliament expresses its dismay at the death of numerous immigrants in shipwrecks in the Mediterranean and condemns the criminal action of all those who profit from trafficking in human beings. It also believes that more should be done to clamp down on these criminal networks (§ 9), while stressing that the effective management of the external borders of EU Member States should be developed with a coherent and structured Community framework and methods (§ 13).
In adopting a series of amendments of the Green group MEPs say that at the present there is no Community policy on the return of illegally residing persons and that the overriding priority must be voluntary return, while stressing that any policy development should fully respect the principle of non-refoulement and the right to seek asylum (AM 7). Parliament also insists that third-country nationals should enjoy rights and obligations comparable to those of EU citizens, including the political right to vote in local and European elections (AM 9).
On combating terrorism Parliament recalls the necessity to link the fight against funding for terrorism with the fight against money laundering and drug trafficking (§ 28).
On enlargement MEPs underline the positive prospects for the membership of Bulgaria and Romania and express their support for the Turkish government in its programme of radical reform at home (§ 29). They also consider that Cyprus's entry into the Union will create a climate favourable to bringing both communities of the island closer together and finding a solution in the UN framework; they therefore urge Turkey and the Turkish Cypriot leadership to respond positively to the UN Secretary-General's efforts (§ 30).
Parliament also recalls the need to achieve all the objectives set out in the Barcelona Declaration (§ 36) and reiterates its proposal to establish a Euro-Mediterranean Parliamentary Assembly, reinvigorating the parliamentary dimension of the Barcelona process through a greater degree of institutionalisation and a higher political profile (§ 37).
Parliament regards the establishment of the International Criminal Court as a great step forward for the development of international law (§ 41). In the same context following the adoption of an amendment of the Green group MEPs express their regret for the continued opposition of the current US Administration to the ICC and also for the fact that it is intensifying its political and financial pressure worldwide, trying to persuade several states to enter into bilateral non-surrender agreements by threatening to suspend military and economic aid as well as other forms of assistance. (AM 2)