‘Agenda 2000’ was the title of a 1,300-page communication presented in July 1997 by Jacques Santer, then President of the European Commission, as a ‘detailed strategy for strengthening and widening the Union in the early years of the twenty-first century’. The document set out the Commission’s assessment of how to prepare for the enlargement of the Union to include the states of central and eastern Europe, and proposed a new financial framework for the future financing of the EU, backed by reforms to both the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) and the structural funds. It also made the case for further extensions of qualified majority voting (QMV) in the Council of Ministers.
Although important parts of the Agenda 2000 prospectus were accepted by EU heads of government at the European Council meeting in Berlin in March 1999, the Santer Commission itself was forced to resign soon after. The Berlin package – subsequently embodied in some 20 legislative proposals – included agreement on new pre-accession aid programmes, on the ‘financial perspective’ for 2000-06, and on the main lines of reform of the CAP and the structural funds, including the Cohesion Fund. The CAP reforms envisaged reductions in the support price for several agricultural products and continued the process of moving towards direct income support for farmers. The issue of QMV was taken up separately in the negotiations within the Intergovernmental Conference (IGC) that led to the 2001 Nice Treaty.
Copyright: Anthony Teasdale, 2012
Citation: The Penguin Companion to European Union (2012), additional website entry