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As the capital of Charlemagne's 9th century Christian empire, Aachen (Aix-la-Chapelle in French) could lay brief claim to being the first post-classical administrative and cultural centre of Europe. In all, 32 German emperors and kings have been crowned at Aix. The city also played host to the 1818 Congress to settle the peace of Europe after Napoleon's defeat - a conference which marked the high point of the unsuccessful attempt to govern Europe by international co-operation between the great powers.


See British rebate.


The act of joining the European Union through a Treaty of Accession with the other member states. Applicants must be European states (among border-line cases Turkey qualifies but Morocco does not), respecters of the rule of law and the European Convention on Human Rights, willing to accept the acquis communautaire and democratic. They must also have a competitive market economy. Neutrality, although at odds with the EU's Common Foreign and Security Policy, is no bar, as shown by the accession of Austria, Finland and Sweden.

The long-drawn-out application procedure involves obtaining a favourable Opinion from the Commission; gaining the majority assent of the European Parliament and the unanimous approval of the Council; negotiating a Treaty; and lastly getting this ratified by all the member states. New members are often given transitional periods in which to adjust. For example, the Accession Treaties of the UK and Spain led to a maze of interim arrangements over the Common Fisheries Policy. The anticipated accession of former communist countries from Eastern Europe will require temporary or long term derogations on a range of EU policies, including EMU, the environment and the implementation of single market measures. (See also Enlargement.)

ACP countries

The 71 African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries, formerly colonies or dependent territories of EU member states, which enjoy Community aid and preferential access to Community markets under the Lomé Convention. (See Appendix 2.)


'Acquired' ground - that is, political or legal areas that have been 'communitised', so that they now fall within the competence of the Community rather than that of the member states.

Acquis communautaire

The acquis communautaire, or Community heritage, is the entire body of laws, policies and practices which have at any given time evolved in the EU. The term had been current in European circles for some years before it made its first formal appearance in the 1992 Maastricht Treaty, under which it became an explicit objective of the Union 'to maintain in full the acquis communautaire and build on it'. Thus the concept lies at the heart of the ratchet process of European integration, since it commits the member states to accept all previous and future centralising measures and implicitly rules out any repatriation of powers.

The acquis particularly comes into play when new countries join the EU. These are required to abide by the Union's Treaties, legal obligations and policy positions, to 'take such measures as may be necessary to ensure their implementation' and to acknowledge the supremacy of Community law. A notable example was the enforced acceptance by Denmark, Ireland and the UK of the Common Fisheries Policy, which had been rushed through at the last minute in 1971 to enable the existing member states to lay claim to those countries' Atlantic and North Sea fish as a 'common resource'. Another example was the acceptance of the objective of Economic and Monetary Union by Spain and Portugal many years before it found legal expression in the Maastricht Treaty.

The Amsterdam Treaty introduced the principle of greater flexibility within the EU, but made it clear that this was a last resort and was applicable only to future developments. It did not, therefore, affect the sacrosanct nature of the acquis.

Action Committee for the United States of Europe (ACUSE)

Jean Monnet's integrationist lobby group, founded in 1955 and dissolved in 1975, by which time Monnet was 87 years old. ACUSE's greatest achievement was the preparation of the intellectual climate for the 1957 Treaty of Rome and the creation of the Common Market.


See Action Committee for the United States of Europe.


The principle that EU funds for regional projects should be additional to member state funds, not a replacement for them.

Adenauer, Konrad (1876-1967)

In the chaos of post-war Germany Konrad Adenauer, in his 70s and with impeccable anti-Nazi credentials (having narrowly escaped death at the hands of the Gestapo), had the qualities of shrewdness, energy and unobtrusive determination that his country needed. He was known with affectionate respect as Der Alte ('the old man'), a tribute to his connection to a pre-Hitler era, as well as to his authoritarian ways. As founder and chairman of the Christian Democratic Union, he helped to negotiate the constitution of the new Federal Republic of Germany and in 1949 he became the first federal chancellor, a position he held for 14 years.

Reconciliation with France was at the centre of Adenauer's policy. In 1950 he informally suggested a complete union of France and Germany; in 1951 he signed the Treaty of Paris, under which French and German coal and steel production were placed under the common supranational authority of the European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC) - a project on which he had collaborated closely with the French foreign minister Robert Schuman and with Jean Monnet, the arch-apostle of European integration. In 1957 he signed the Community's founding Treaty of Rome; in 1959 he solved the vexed question of the Saarland, which lay in the French zone of occupied Germany, persuading France to allow it to be reincorporated into West Germany; and in 1963 he signed with Charles de Gaulle the Franco-German friendship treaty known as the Treaty of the Elysée.

All this time Germany's economy was recovering dramatically under the guidance of Adenauer's economics minister, Ludwig Erhard, while the Cold War placed the country in the Western front line against Soviet communism, easing international acceptance of its membership of NATO. In 1955, two years after Stalin's death, Adenauer was able to negotiate the return of German prisoners of war from the Soviet Union. He cultivated good relations with the USA and the UK, the latter despite a bizarre episode in 1945, when the British had harshly dismissed him as Mayor of Cologne on a trivial pretext. His Christian capitalist creed made him an uncompromising opponent of communism and convinced him that the purpose of German strategy must be to anchor the country in the West and find rehabilitation through suppressing German nationalism within a unified Europe. Like his near contemporary Walter Hallstein and his later successor Helmut Kohl, he well understood the political dimensions of economic actions, describing the foundation of the ECSC in 1951 as 'the beginning of a federal structure of Europe'.

Advocate general

The role of the advocate general in the European Court of Justice is to submit an Opinion on the case before the Court, analysing the facts, the precedents, the arguments and the relevant law, and to recommend a judgment. The Opinion is later published alongside the judgment, which generally (but not always) concurs with it. There are nine advocates general, appointed by the Council of Ministers on renewable six-year contracts.

Agenda 2000

The Commission's perspective for the millennium, prepared in 1997. The centrepiece of the report was a strategy for enlargement of the EU by admitting the former communist countries of Eastern Europe. The addition of so many new members would require alterations in the EU's voting and institutional arrangements and would raise the cost of the Common Agricultural Policy and the structural funds, resulting in either a reallocation of subsidies among member states or an increase in the Community budget. Agenda 2000 therefore proposed reforms in these areas and sketched out a financial framework for the years 2000-06.

Aid and development

The EU (not including the member states themselves) gives some $7.5 billion of external aid annually, of which $2.5 billion goes to 70 African, Caribbean and Pacific countries under the Lomé Convention and between $500 million and $1 billion to emergency humanitarian causes. Eastern Europe accounts for some $1.5 billion and the Mediterranean area $1 billion; the balance is divided between other developing countries. Most of these outlays pass through the EU budget, the exception being the Lomé funds, which are levied directly from member states but administered on their behalf by the Commission in the name of the European Development Fund.

The Community and its member states together provide nearly half the world's financial assistance to developing countries - more than twice as much as the USA or Japan. Such aid is increasingly called into question as profligate and promoting a culture of corruption or dependency. It is also stigmatised by some recipients as neo-imperialist, a charge lent force by lucrative contracts won by European companies on assisted projects and by the EU's practice of counting as aid the dumping of unwanted food surpluses in competition with farmers in impoverished countries. The Community's TACIS and PHARE programmes (for Russia and Eastern Europe respectively) have come in for stinging criticism from the Court of Auditors for wastefulness and lack of focus, but the problems are in reality more widespread. After the resignation of the entire Commission in 1999, it was revealed that the EU had a backlog of some 10,000 uncompleted aid projects - many of them destined to be white elephants - to which over $15 billion had been committed.

Airbus Industrie

A symbol (and a rare example) of successful European collaboration, the Airbus, assembled in Toulouse, is the sole major competitor to the US company Boeing in passenger aircraft manufacture. The principal partners are the French Aerospatiale, British Aerospace and Daimler-Benz Aerospace (Dasa) of Germany, with smaller Spanish and Italian participations. The venture is a 'European Economic Interest Grouping', a non-profit-making consortium arrangement which hampers rationalisation, and which the partners plan to exchange for a conventional structure. Their ambition of incorporating Airbus and making it one of the linchpins of the European aerospace industry has won the approval of the various governments involved, although the problems of ownership and management remain complex. Competition with the USA has been abrasive. The Americans accuse Airbus of unfair practice through its receipt of heavy subsidies, while the Europeans accuse the US industry of being propped up by lucrative defence contracts. Both sides suspect the other of using every weapon of government, including diplomatic pressure, espionage and regulatory intervention, to further its cause.


After the death of Stalin in 1953 the Albanian Communist Party, led by Enver Hoxha, allied itself to China, considering Soviet policy too soft. Having been under Hoxha's grip for nearly 40 years, Albania is now a member of the Council of Europe, with a legitimate elected government, but it is the poorest country in Europe. In 1997 law and order broke down after a pyramid selling scandal, which ruined many citizens and gave a motley array of opponents, including members of the Mafia and ousted communists, the opportunity to create chaos, causing a refugee problem for the neighbouring EU states of Italy and Greece. The EU's muffled response was not untypical of the Common Foreign and Security Policy.

Amsterdam Treaty

See Treaty of Amsterdam.


See Small countries.

Andreotti, Giulio (1919-)

Three times prime minister of Italy, Andreotti played a conspiratorial role in 1985 to procure the advancement of the single market - a Margaret Thatcher initiative - by a new federalising treaty (the Single European Act) rather than by her preferred method, which was merely to amend the Treaty of Rome. Andreotti was prominent in the Italian Christian Democratic party for four decades, at the end of which time public disenchantment with corruption in high places had grown to such a point that the old political establishment was destroyed and many politicians were indicted. In 1999, in a remarkable backlash against the perceived shortcomings of the judicial system, Andreotti was given a hero's welcome when he was acquitted of involvement in Mafia activities and complicity in a murder.

Anglo-American model

Sometimes contrasted with the Rhine model, the British and US economic systems are based on deregulation, free markets, labour flexibility, decentralised wage bargaining, low government involvement in the productive sector and widespread share ownership. The emphasis on shareholder values and open markets is also associated with takeover bids, which reallocate assets - in theory to their most efficient user - abruptly and without prior worker consultation.

The corporatist Rhine model is more closely controlled by the banks, themselves heavily regulated by a central bank. The stockmarket is of less importance and takeovers are rare. Wage bargaining is industry-wide, trade union representatives often sit on companies' supervisory boards, and government spending and the social costs of employment are high. Compared with the Anglo-American model the German system is said by its supporters to encourage long-term investment (as opposed to 'short-termism'), greater stability of employment and a more socially compassionate approach to the workforce.

Like the Swedish model before it, however, the Rhine model is not without its problems. Its labour market inflexibility has led to the export of jobs to more adaptable economies. Moreover, the combination of unemployment and some slimming of benefits has put the traditional employer-employee consensus under strain. Continental industrialists are therefore beginning to look with increasing sympathy at aspects of the Anglo-American model and at the 'third way' compromise practised in The Netherlands.


Eurospeak for harmonisation, that is standardisation, whether of products, qualifications, laws or taxes.

Ariane (1)

A 67 million a year programme to subsidise the dissemination and translation of literary works within the EU.

Ariane (2)

A French-designed rocket launcher for commercial satellites. (See European Space Agency.)


Introduced by the Single European Act of 1986 and subsequently amended by the 1992 Maastricht Treaty, assent refers to certain veto rights of the European Parliament. The Parliament has to approve by absolute majority the accession to the EU of a new member state, and by simple majority (that is, of the votes cast) the conclusion of an Association Agreement. This 'assent procedure' applies to virtually all international agreements as well as to a limited range of legislative proposals. The Treaty of Amsterdam extended the scope of the procedure to cover the imposition of sanctions on a member state for serious and persistent breach of fundamental human rights.


A conference of the European Parliament and the national parliaments of the EU's member states. There has only been one, in 1990, which (after a haggle about whether the seating plan should reflect nationality or political groups) led to a pair of Declarations about the desirability of involving national parliaments more in EU affairs.

Association Agreement

An agreement between the Community and a non-EU state or group of states. Such an agreement may be designed to pave the way to possible membership of the EU, in which case it is called a Europe Agreement, for example with Hungary, Poland and the Czech Republic. Or it may be an aid and technical co-operation agreement, as with certain North African and Middle Eastern countries; or a more comprehensive agreement with trade, aid, cultural and social dimensions, as with the African, Caribbean and Pacific signatories to the Lomé Convention. The EEA Treaty also counts as an Association Agreement.

Europe Agreements provide for gradual integration into the Community, mutual free trade within ten years and progress towards compatibility with Community law, within the framework of free elections, open markets and the rule of law. The process is carried forward by financial assistance and regular political meetings at head of state, ministerial, diplomatic and parliamentary levels.


The progressive abolition of internal border controls under the Schengen Agreement has left the EU's external frontiers as the main line of defence against unwanted asylum-seekers (asylum as between member states was barred in 1997). After the ratification (also in 1997) of the Dublin Convention of 1990, which was designed to prevent multiple applications but in effect shifted responsibility for assessing claims to the country where the refugee first seeks asylum, there was no longer the same incentive for rigorous control at the external frontier. In some instances, all that was necessary for refugees to be waved through was to show that they were in transit to another member state. In countries with long unpatrolled borders or coastlines the monitoring of illegal arrivals, a difficult task at the best of times, was seen by the destination countries as unacceptably slack.

With its central location and its possession of one of Europe's most generous social security systems, Germany receives more immigrants and more applications for asylum than any other EU country - some 95,000 in 1999. A surge of Kurdish refugees the previous year had led to criticism of Italy (and to a lesser extent Greece) for what Germany perceived as a negligent attitude to the transit problem. The UK, too, with its snail's-pace processing procedures and liberal attitudes, is an attractive destination, with 71,000 applications in 1999. On arrival, applicants claim to fear persecution at home; meanwhile, they live off welfare or disappear into the big cities. By the turn of the century the cases of over 50,000 asylum-seekers were still pending in the UK, and although the country had opted out of the Schengen Agreement in order to keep its border controls, it was estimated that several times that number had become illegal immigrants. France and Sweden are also favoured destinations, receiving nearly the same number of applicants as the UK. Early in 2000, the flood of asylum-seekers led Belgium to suspend its Schengen obligations and restore frontier checks.

The phenomenon of mass immigration into the EU is a function of poverty, repression and civil strife in neighbouring countries, from North Africa and the Middle East to the Balkans and the former Iron Curtain republics. In 1999, nearly 400,000 refugees sought asylum in Western Europe, over 100,000 of them from the Kosovo region. In due course, perhaps a third might expect to be accepted, while many of the rest would melt into the underground or be ultimately amnestied, their unwanted presence exacerbating ethnic antagonisms and becoming a breeding ground for the ambitions of demagogic politicians. (See also Schengen Agreement.)

Audiovisual policy

The EU's policy, largely driven by France, of subsidising film-making and prescribing language quotas for television programmes. The anti-competitive - and in effect anti-American - nature of the policy was defended during the contentious 'Uruguay Round' of GATT negotiations in 1993 on the grounds that it was necessary to protect the EU's cultural life.


Divided after World War II into four occupied zones, but with a single government, the Republic of Austria was not re-established as an independent state until 1955, when the Soviet troops withdrew after Austria had committed itself to neutrality. In 1960 the country became a founder member of EFTA. Germany, however, remained its main trading partner and for over 20 years before the introduction of the single currency in 1999 the schilling was closely linked to the D-Mark.

For most of the post-war period, Austria had grown at a higher rate than the European average, despite a stagnant political system ('proporz') in which much of the country's economic and civic life was controlled and shared out between the Social Democratic Party and the People's Party. In 1989, as the Cold War drew to a close and the single market gained momentum, Austria applied to join the EC, being formally admitted in 1995 to what had now become the European Union. Hopes that membership would provide an easy passport to sustained expansion soon gave way to the reality of austerity in order to meet the EMU criteria. Elections saw a sharp increase in the vote of the Freedom Party of the Eurosceptic Jorg Haider, who was much criticised as a chameleon and a xenophobe but was perhaps equally guilty of exposing political corruption in the traditional parties which formed the coalition government.

Accustomed to looking east, Austria has much to gain from the future accession to the EU of its neighbours, the Czech Republic, Hungary and Slovenia. The prospect of a prosperous Mitteleuropa and peaceful democracy on its borders has been unheard of since before World War I; on the other hand, the spectre of low wage competition and a flood of economic immigrants is easily raised. Sharper competition within the existing EU, added to globalisation, has also brought doubts over Austria's consensus-based Rhine model style of industrial relations. At the turn of the century, Haider's Freedom Party had gained more ground, threatening the ability of the coalition partners to continue governing the country. But Haider was moderating his tone and in 2000 the Freedom Party replaced the Social Democrats to form a rightist administration with the People's Party. The EU responded furiously. Nevertheless, with its wealth and tranquillity it is hard to imagine Austria lapsing into genuine political extremism or turning its back on an acceptance of its future as an integral part of the EU. (See also Austrian crisis.)

Austrian crisis

Early in 2000 a sudden crisis erupted in the EU when the Eurosceptic Freedom Party of Jorg Haider was admitted to government in Austria as a junior coalition partner of the centre right People's Party. Haider had been guilty of strident anti-immigrant speeches and of occasional favourable references to the Nazis, but his platform of political and economic reform was probably the main reason for his popularity with the electorate. Thus it came as a shock when the 14 other EU member states, apparently without consulting the Commission, announced a diplomatic boycott of Austria. The prime mover was President Jacques Chirac of France, perhaps actuated by a wish to discredit the French extreme right, but governments of every hue joined in. Much of the reaction was exaggerated: Belgium, for example, threatened Austria with expulsion from the EU. Hypocrisy and guilt, too, were in the air - some of the complaining governments owed their own majorities to coalitions with communists and it seemed at times that the Western democracies were seeking to atone painlessly for their failure to resist Hitler's accession to power 65 years earlier. Israel's decision to withdraw its ambassador was understandable, but when the USA followed suit (doubtless with an eye to the forthcoming US presidential election) Austria's isolation was complete. The Commission itself, mindful that neither Haider nor his party had broken any Community law, took no action. In Austria there was outrage at the EU's interference with the country's choice expressed legitimately through the ballot box.

The affair was revealing on several different levels. It suggested that Euroscepticism was close to being ranked as an offence warranting sanctions; it was a reminder that the human rights clauses contained in the Treaty of Amsterdam were susceptible of elastic - and politicised - interpretation; and it marked a step towards the EU claiming to be a superior political entity entitled to dictate terms to its member states. (See also Haider.)

Aznar, José-Maria (1953-)

Leader of the centre right Partido Popular, José-Maria Aznar started out as a state tax inspector, rising through regional politics to succeed Felipe González as Spanish prime minister in 1996, after the Basque and Catalan nationalists had deserted the Socialist coalition government following revelations of its involvement in the 'dirty war' against separatist guerrillas. Although personal popularity eluded him, by 2000 Aznar was enjoying considerable prestige as a consequence of a strong economic upturn that had enabled him to bring Spain into the first group of qualifiers for the single currency and to make inroads into the country's sky-high unemployment. In the elections of that year, he was returned to power with an outright majority.

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