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Document 52004PC0426

Proposal for a Council Decision on a Community position in the Association Council on the implementation of Article 84 of the Euro-Mediterranean Agreement establishing an association between the European Communities and their Member States, of the one part, and the Kingdom of Morocco, of the other part

/* COM/2004/0426 final */

52004PC0426

Proposal for a Council Decision on a Community position in the Association Council on the implementation of Article 84 of the Euro-Mediterranean Agreement establishing an association between the European Communities and their Member States, of the one part, and the Kingdom of Morocco, of the other part /* COM/2004/0426 final */


Proposal for a COUNCIL DECISION on a Community position in the Association Council on the implementation of Article 84 of the Euro-Mediterranean Agreement establishing an association between the European Communities and their Member States, of the one part, and the Kingdom of Morocco, of the other part

(presented by the Commission)

EXPLANATORY MEMORANDUM

1. The Association Agreements form the legal basis for the European Union's relations with the countries participating in the Barcelona Process.

2. The increasing technical complexity of the Union's relations with the southern Mediterranean countries, arising from the implementation of the Euro-Mediterranean agreements and the continuation of the Euro-Mediterranean partnership, requires the working of the institutions of these Agreements to be brought into line with the working of the institutions of other international agreements concluded by the EU. Subcommittees of the association committees of the other associated countries have been set up in order to monitor implementation of the partnership priorities and the approximation of legislation.

3. The Euro-Med countries with which agreements are in force have already expressed the desire for greater cooperation in the various areas covered by the numerous provisions of the Association Agreements. A number of activities are currently taking place at regional level in the Barcelona Process context while, at bilateral level, the Commission's departments try to respond to the requests of these countries on an individual, case-by-case basis. The EU-Morocco Association Agreement came into force on 1 March 2000 and provides for the establishment of a free trade area between the EU and Morocco by 28 February 2012 at the latest. The Moroccan Government has repeatedly expressed the desire for an advanced status in its relations with the EU ("more than association, less than accession"). It has stated that "the establishment of a free trade area is not an end in itself". The principal objective sought is "increased interpenetration of the partners' economies and societies and institutional convergence by means of additional mechanisms and appropriate legal instruments to be agreed".

4. The EU's competences provide a framework for developing relations with the Mediterranean countries in a way that takes account of the need for the whole Barcelona Process to be coherent and balanced. To provide an appropriate institutional framework for implementing and enhancing cooperation, the European Union has already decided to create subcommittees for the Association Committee. Morocco will be the first country of the southern shore of the Mediterranean for which this framework has been created. The subcommittees will become active as and when the parties agree on the objectives, rules and procedures and programme.

5. The conclusions of the Marseilles Conference in November 2000 call for more extensive objectives and closer relations with the countries of the Mediterranean in the framework of the Association Agreements. This also has practical implications for the institutions implementing the agreements. The conclusions drawn at the end of these meetings and the action plan agreed in Valencia reaffirm joint commitments and stress the need to step up efforts to support human rights, and the determination to do so.

6. Human Rights and fundamental freedoms form an integral and essential part of the framework governing relations between the European Union and its Mediterranean partners, both within the regional context of the Barcelona process/Euro-Mediterranean partnership, and through the bilateral Association Agreements concluded or under negotiation with all the Mediterranean partner countries.

7. Accordingly, the Commission proposes that a new subcommittee on human rights, democratisation and governance be formally established in addition to the committees and groups already set up or planned under the Association Agreement.

8. In organisational terms, the new-sub committee will be chaired, so far as the EU is concerned, according to the same rules as apply to the Association Committee. In the event of discussion on subjects outside the Community's competence, a representative of the Council presidency will chair the committee and also express the position of the Member States. In such cases the Commission will be fully involved in discussions on the approach to be followed and the objectives to be achieved during the meeting of the subcommittee.

9. The objective, the subjects covered by the subcommittee and the implementing procedures are contained in the rules of procedure at annex. The tasks and rules of procedure of the subcommittee have been discussed informally with the Moroccan authorities.

Proposal for a COUNCIL DECISION on a Community position in the Association Council on the implementation of Article 84 of the Euro-Mediterranean Agreement establishing an association between the European Communities and their Member States, of the one part, and the Kingdom of Morocco, of the other part

THE COUNCIL OF THE EUROPEAN UNION,

Having regard to the Treaty establishing the European Community, and in particular the second subparagraph of Article 300(2) thereof,

Having regard to the proposal from the Commission, [1]

[1] OJ C [...], [...], p. [...].

Whereas:

(1) The Euro-Mediterranean Agreement establishing an Association between the European Communities and their Member States, of the one part, and the Kingdom of Morocco, of the other part, was concluded on 24 January 2000.

(2) Article 84 of that Agreement states that the Association Council may decide to set up any working group or body necessary for the implementation of the Agreement,

HAS DECIDED AS FOLLOWS:

Sole Article

The position to be adopted by the Community in the Association Council established by the Euro-Mediterranean Agreement concluded between the European Communities and their Member States, of the one part, and the Kingdom of Morocco, of the other part, on the implementation of Article 84 of the Agreement, shall be based on the draft Decision of the Association Council annexed to this Decision

Done at Brussels, [...]

For the Council

The President

ANNEX

Draft

DECISION OF THE EU-MOROCCO ASSOCIATION COUNCIL

creating a Subcommittee on Human Rights, Democratisation and Governance

The EU-Morocco Association Council,

Having regard to the Euro-Mediterranean Agreement establishing an Association between the European Communities and their Member States, of the one part, and the Kingdom of Morocco, of the other part,

Whereas:

(1) A free trade area is to be established between the EU and Morocco by 28 February 2012 at the latest,

(2) The EU's relations with the southern Mediterranean countries are becoming increasingly complex as a result of the implementation of the Euro-Mediterranean agreements and the continuation of the Euro-Mediterranean partnership.

(3) Implementation of the partnership's priorities and approximation of legislation should be monitored. The EU's competences provide a framework for developing relations with the Mediterranean countries in a way that takes account of the need for the whole Barcelona Process to be coherent and balanced.

(4) The European Union has already decided to create subcommittees for the Association Committee to provide an appropriate institutional framework for implementing and enhancing cooperation.

(5) Human rights and fundamental freedoms form an integral and essential part of the framework governing relations between the European Union and its Mediterranean partners.

(6) Article 84 of the Agreement provides for the setting up of the working groups or bodies necessary for the implementation of the Agreement,

HAS DECIDED AS FOLLOWS:

Sole Article

The Subcommittee on Human Rights, Democratisation and Governance is hereby set up and its rules of procedure, set out in Annex 1, are hereby adopted.

The Subcommittee shall work under the authority of the Association Committee, to which it shall report after each meeting. The Subcommittee shall have no decision-making power.

The Association Committee shall take any other action needed to ensure that the Subcommittee operates properly and inform the Association Council accordingly.

This Decision shall enter into force on the day of its adoption.

Done at on

For the Association Council

ANNEX I

Rules of procedure

EU-Morocco Subcommittee No 7

Human Rights, Democratisation and Governance

1. Composition and chair

The Subcommittee shall be composed of representatives of the European Commission and representatives of the Government of Morocco and shall be chaired alternately by the two parties. The Member States will be informed and invited to the Subcommittee's meetings. On the EU side, if subject matters outside the Community's competence are discussed, the Subcommittee shall be chaired by a representative of the Presidency of the Council, who shall also express the position of the Member States. In such cases the Commission will be fully involved in discussions on the approach to be followed and the objectives to be achieved during the meeting of the Subcommittee.

2. Role

The Subcommittee shall work under the authority of the Association Committee, to which it shall report after each meeting. The Subcommittee shall have no decision-making power. It may, however, submit proposals to the Association Committee

3. Topics

The Subcommittee shall discuss the implementation of the Association Agreement in the areas listed below. In particular, it shall assess progress on approximation of laws, implementation and enforcement. Where relevant, cooperation in public administration matters shall be discussed. The Subcommittee shall evaluate progress and examine any problems that may arise in the sectors listed below and shall suggest steps that might be taken.

3. a - The rule of law, good governance and democracy, including in particular: strengthening democracy and the rule of law; the independence of the judiciary and access to justice

3. b - Ratifying and implementing the principal international conventions on human rights and fundamental freedoms, and the protocols to those conventions

3. c - National administrative and institutional capacity

The above list is not exhaustive and other relevant subjects, including horizontal matters, e.g. statistics, may be added by the Association Committee, in particular as regards implementation of the regional programme.

The Subcommittee may discuss matters relating to one, several or all of the above sectors.

4. Secretariat

An official of the European Commission and an official of the Government of Morocco shall act jointly as permanent secretaries of the Subcommittee.

All communications concerning the Subcommittee shall be forwarded to the secretaries.

5. Meetings

The Subcommittee shall meet whenever circumstances require. A meeting may be convened on the basis of a request from either party, channelled through their secretary, who will pass the request onto the other party. Upon receipt of a request for a Subcommittee meeting, the secretary of the other party shall reply within 15 working days.

In cases of particular urgency, Subcommittee meetings may be convened at shorter notice subject to the agreement of both parties. All requests to convene meetings should be in writing.

Meetings of the Subcommittee shall be held at a time and place agreed by both parties.

The meetings shall be convened by the secretary in charge in agreement with the chair. Before each meeting, the chair will be informed of the intended composition of each party's delegation.

If both parties agree, the Subcommittee may invite experts to its meetings to provide specific information.

6. Agenda of the meetings

All requests for items to be included on the Subcommittee's agenda shall be forwarded to the secretaries.

A provisional agenda shall be drawn up by the chair for each meeting. It shall be forwarded by the secretary in charge to his or her counterpart not later than ten days before the beginning of the meeting.

Items for inclusion in the provisional agenda must be notified to the secretaries at least fifteen days before the beginning of the meeting. Supporting documentation must be received by both parties at least seven days ahead of the meeting. To take account of special and/or urgent cases, later notification and supply of documentation may be allowed, provided both parties agree.

The agenda shall be adopted by the Subcommittee at the beginning of each meeting.

7. Minutes

Minutes shall be taken and agreed by both secretaries after each meeting. A copy of the minutes, including the Subcommittee's proposals, shall be forwarded by the secretaries of the Subcommittee to the secretaries and chair of the Association Committee.

8. Publicity

Unless otherwise decided, the meetings of the Subcommittee shall not be public and its proceedings shall not be made public.

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