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Commission Work Programme for 1997

Jacques Santer, President of the European Commission, presented the Commission's Work Programme for 1997 to the European Parliament at its meeting in Strasbourg on 22 October 1996. The programme continues on the lines set out by Jacques Santer in January 1995, and is a politic...
Jacques Santer, President of the European Commission, presented the Commission's Work Programme for 1997 to the European Parliament at its meeting in Strasbourg on 22 October 1996. The programme continues on the lines set out by Jacques Santer in January 1995, and is a political programme rather than a catalogue of initiatives.

The Work Programme identifies four priority areas for action in 1997:

- Implementation of the European Confidence Pact for Employment:
Launched by the Commission in January 1996, this is based on macroeconomic policy, the single market, employment systems and structural policies. Work in 1997 will include preparations for Economic and Monetary Union, and further simplification of legislation and tax policy. In regard to improving the competitive environment in Europe, the Commission's major initiatives will be its proposals for the Fifth RTD Framework Programme, the action plan on innovation and a new action plan on the Information Society. The Commission will also be amending structural policies with the aim of improving their effectiveness in the fight against unemployment;

- Strengthening the European model of society:
The Commission wants to build a Europe based on solidarity and closer to each individual's concerns. It will concentrate on measures in areas such as education and training (initiatives on lifelong access to education and training and launching of the European Voluntary Service), economic and social cohesion, consumer interests, environment and individual freedom and security;

- Developing Europe's presence on the international stage:
The Commission aims to continue building up Europe's external relations to match its commercial and economic importance. In particular, the Commission will concentrate on building relations with the Central and Eastern European countries concerned with the prospects of enlargement as well as with the USA, in the spirit of the new Trans-Atlantic Agenda, and with the former Yugoslav states. The Commission will also update the common commercial policy, to take account of changing circumstances, while in regard to development policy, it will try to enhance the effectiveness of aid;

- Preparing for the challenges of the new millennium:
In this respect, the Commission will focus on the completion of the inter-governmental conference, the prospect of enlargement of the EU and the development of a new financial framework for the Community after 1999.

In addition, the Commission President told MEPs that far-reaching reforms would be started within the Commission during 1997, with the aim of improving its management and performance. These will concentrate on decentralization, rationalization and simplification.
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