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General Report on the Activities of the European Union in 1994

The 1994 General Report on the Activities of the European Union has just been published. The Report reviews the EU policies implemented in the past year and serves as a reference source for Members of Parliament, business people, civil servants and, in general, members of the ...

The 1994 General Report on the Activities of the European Union has just been published. The Report reviews the EU policies implemented in the past year and serves as a reference source for Members of Parliament, business people, civil servants and, in general, members of the public seeking specific information on the Community's wide range of activities. The General Report includes "The year in brief", a chronological summary of the major events of the year, and tables showing the progress of legislation and the progress of international agreements between the Community and non-member countries. 1994 was the first year of implementation of the Treaty on European Union, and the institutional arrangements required by that Treaty were put in place. The negotiations for the accession of Austria, Finland and Sweden were successfully concluded, the measures called for by the Commission's White Paper on Growth, Competitiveness and Employment were launched, and the second stage of economic and monetary union got under way. In addition, the strategy for relations with neighbouring countries was elaborated and a timetable was set for the 1996 Intergovernmental Conference that is to map out the future path of Community development. The measures called for by the Commission's White Paper were the underlay for all Union activities to restore the confidence on which the economic recovery depended and to mobilize the resources needed to combat unemployment and exclusion. Evidence of a stronger recovery than expected was observed in all the Member States, and the medium-term prospect of sustainable non-inflationary growth was confirmed. The second stage of economic and monetary union began officially on 1 January 1994 with closer coordination of the Member States' economic policies and mandatory budgetary policy review procedures. European Union strategy further focused on the establishment of trans-European networks, the arrival of the information society, support for small businesses, the promotion of RTD, education and vocational training, the development of the potential offered by the single market and a reinforcement of economic and social cohesion as various means of stimulating growth and creating jobs on the basis of permanent, innovatory industrial competitiveness. One of the major challenges facing the Union was to prepare the way for a new European architecture while securing stability in Europe and the surrounding regions and amplifying the privileged relationships between Europe and neighbouring countries. The Union produced a strategy to prepare for future enlargement to include the associated countries in Central and Eastern Europe to secure durable stability throughout the continent. Recognizing the need for balanced relations with all its neighbours, the Union also called for Euro-Mediterranean partnership to culminate eventually in a free trade area, while redefining its relations with two regions of the world - Latin America and Asia - which are emerging as major poles of attraction and growth. It expanded its humanitarian aid activities, particularly in Rwanda and the former Yugoslavia. The network of agreements with non-member countries expressing shared democratic values and political dialogue at all levels was further developed. The signing of the final act of the Uruguay Round in April 1994 and the establishment of the World Trade Organization opened the way to further liberalization and harmonious development of international trade. During this first year of operation of the common foreign and security policy, the Union built up a number of joint actions in relation to former Yugoslavia, the Middle East peace process, Russia, South Africa and the proposed stability pact in Central Europe. This was also the first year of operation of the Union Treaty's provisions on justice and home affairs cooperation. The Union institutions made great efforts to bring the Union nearer the citizens and make it more open and more transparent, notably by pressing for the subsidiarity principle in the process of preparing and reviewing Community legislation.