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Japan and Europe

Japan's relations with the EU centre on trade. Famously adept at protecting and promoting its national commercial interests, Japan enjoys a vast trade surplus with Europe, which responds with 'voluntary' quotas and extensive anti-dumping measures. Both sides pay lip service to free trade principles. Meanwhile, partly as a precaution against European protectionism, Japanese companies have invested heavily within the EU, notably in car-making facilities in Britain.

Jenkins, Roy (1920-)

Roy Jenkins held high office in Harold Wilson's Labour government between 1965 and 1970, a period which included French President Charles de Gaulle's veto of the UK's application for membership of the EEC. In 1971 Labour, now in opposition, voted against the terms of accession negotiated by Prime Minister Edward Heath, but Jenkins defied the party whip to support the ruling Conservatives. By 1974 Wilson was back in power, and after a trivial renegotiation the issue of the UK's membership of the Community was put to a referendum in 1975. The active part played by Jenkins in the pro-European campaign helped cost him the leadership of the Labour Party on Wilson's retirement, and in 1976 he left domestic politics to become the UK's first and only president of the Commission.

Always advance along the line of least resistance provided that it leads in approximately the right direction. Advice given to Roy Jenkins by Jean Monnet

The urbane and sybaritic son of a Welsh coalminer, Jenkins was ideally suited to Brussels, taking easily to the mandarin life. He observed his fellow Eurocrats amusedly, with a biographer's perceptive eye, and pleased the smaller countries by procuring for the Commission president a permanent seat alongside heads of government at the top table of summit meetings. His principal European initiative was a renewed attempt to launch EMU in 1977 (a previous attempt in the early 1970s had collapsed). This led to the European Monetary System in 1979, whose grandiose aims of 'lasting growth with stability' and 'a progressive return to full employment' were made to seem empty by the ensuing period of instability, stagnation and joblessness. Jenkins returned to the UK to found the Social Democratic Party, which later merged to become the Liberal Democrats, the only national party which has been consistently and wholeheartedly committed to the EU.

JET (Joint European Torus)

Based near Oxford, JET's research objective is the development of nuclear fusion as a safer energy source than nuclear fission. The siting of JET (in which some non-EC countries also participate) was the subject of a notorious dispute between the UK and Germany, eventually settled in 1977 at head of government level.


See Justice and Home Affairs.

'Joint action'

A decision to take joint action in the field of foreign affairs must be agreed unanimously by the Council (not counting the votes of any state that adopts a position of 'constructive abstention'). The implementation of any joint action, however, would normally be governed by qualified majority voting. There are similar provisions for joint action in the field of Justice and Home Affairs.

Jospin, Lionel (1937-)

Elected socialist prime minister of France in 1997 under the conservative President Jacques Chirac, Lionel Jospin proclaimed traditional left-wing policies during his campaign, raising the prospect that he would put economic reflation at the top of the political agenda, even if that meant jeopardising France's participation in EMU. Within weeks of becoming premier, however, he abandoned many of his pre-election pledges and set about reducing France's budget deficit. Emboldened by successful fiscal consolidation and an economic upturn, Jospin soon reasserted his belief in the single currency, which was duly launched in 1999. As he hit his stride, his authority grew, assisted by a belated fall in unemployment; assisted, too, by the fracturing of the French right. His rhetoric remained socialist (he disdained Prime Minister Tony Blair's 'third way' as too laissez-faire), even as some of his policies swung cautiously to the right. As France prospered again, the prospect was opening up for a credible presidential challenge to the inconsistent Chirac in 2002.

In international affairs, Jospin showed little sense of strategic direction beyond being outspokenly anti-American and an avowed France-first chauvinist. The structural changes posed by the planned enlargement of the EU would in the past have been resolved by concerted Franco-German action. But Jospin's relationship with Chancellor Gerhard Schroder was poor, as was Chirac's. Moreover, the influence of Britain had grown, while Romano Prodi's Commission was less Francophile than that of Jacques Delors and less malleable than that of the recently deposed Jacques Santer. Thus power in the EU was more diffused than anything that Jospin's predecessors had experienced.

Justice and Home Affairs (JHA)

One of the three 'pillars' of the EU formalised by the Maastricht Treaty, JHA refers to member states' activities in various fields of 'common interest', including fraud and organised crime, asylum and immigration, customs, civil and criminal judicial co-operation and the creation of a European Police Office, Europol. The Maastricht Treaty only required member states to inform and consult each other in these areas, with collaboration essentially limited to 'joint positions' and (a rare event) unanimously agreed 'joint actions'. But the Treaty of Amsterdam went further, bringing border control into the acquis communautaire, creating new civil rights and foreshadowing the ultimate harmonisation of national laws and criminal procedures. As a result JHA assumed a hybrid character, with part of its subject matter transferred to the supranational 'first pillar' of the EU, of which the ultimate arbiter is the Court of Justice, and part remaining the responsibility of national governments. Confusingly, the Treaty Title covering the 'third pillar' was changed at Amsterdam to 'Police and Judicial Co-operation in Criminal Matters', although the generic name JHA remains in official use.

These developments have given rise to concern in several countries, especially the UK, with its common law evolved over centuries and its concept of the law as a bastion of protection for the individual - traditions different from the processes and presumptions of the European civil codes descended from Napoleonic law. Although intergovernmental co-operation in JHA has some modest achievements to its credit, such as simplifying extradition and travel and improving the exchange of police intelligence, these could as well have been realised without the Treaties; and the 'full association' of the European Commission in judicial affairs prescribed at Maastricht and Amsterdam suggests that civil liberties are on their way to 'communitisation' as part of the wider federal agenda.

The approach of the integrationist Commission towards JHA has been pragmatic. Where a specific opportunity presents itself, such as combating Community fraud, centralisation is pushed forward vigorously with the aim of making the remedies enforceable at the EU level; but where the Commission encounters resistance, it resorts to general principles in the form of Declarations, Resolutions or Treaty Preambles. Particularly sensitive areas have been those of immigration and free movement within the Community. Unhappiness about the Schengen Agreement to abolish European frontiers, caused by alleged Dutch laxity over drug trafficking, led to France reintroducing passport checks in 1995. In 1997, however, the Treaty of Amsterdam substantially incorporated Schengen into Community law (the UK, which was opposed to any further weakening of its defences against terrorism or illegal immigration, obtained an opt-out from that section of the Treaty, as did Ireland and Denmark). The last years of the 20th century and the first year of the 21st saw an explosion of refugees - Kurds from Turkey, Moroccans and Algerians from North Africa, Albanians, Romanians and others from the Balkans and East Europe. Whether this phenomenon strengthened or undermined the fundamental JHA concept of a borderless 'area of freedom, security and justice' was, however, hotly debated.

As with the EU's other intergovernmental 'pillar', the Common Foreign and Security Policy, JHA raises the issue of sovereignty. Having conceded the supremacy of Community law, and being for the most part in the course of merging their currencies and surrendering national control over their economies, the chief distinguishing marks of autonomy left to member states are defence, foreign policy and home affairs. To the extent that these areas, too, become the province of the EU, the conventional nation state will progressively have ceased to exist. For this reason, France's Constitutional Council ruled that the Treaty of Amsterdam required an amendment to the French constitution, and Denmark was true to its own independent traditions in putting the Treaty to a referendum. Early drafts of the next EU treaty due in 2001 contained proposals for a common public prosecutor based in Brussels and a Charter of Fundamental Rights. If these ideas survived the opposition of anti-federalists, and especially if the Charter took the legal form of a European constitution, as many wished, the communitisation of JHA would be close to completion. (See also Corpus Juris and Human rights.)

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