The Prime Ministers of the Visegrád Group Countries met in Warsaw on 8 December 2004 to evaluate the current stage of discussions on the New Financial Perspective of the European Union and to discuss preparations for the European Council next week.
They welcomed the efforts of the EU Presidency to advance the negotiations and identify key problems and challenges for the European Union in the years 2007-2013, following the proposal of the European Commission which serves as a good basis for the negotiations. The Prime Ministers called on members of the European Council in Brussels (16-17 December 2004) to adopt the Principles and Guidelines for further negotiations, based on the initial proposal of the Presidency.
The Prime Ministers stressed that solidarity should be the guiding principle for distribution of cohesion funds in the enlarged Union. In this respect the particular needs of the new Member States to converge to the European average should be adequately addressed.
They agreed to hold further consultations to deepen common understanding of issues of particular concern, including the question of the 4% capping.
The Prime Ministers stressed the importance of observing the timetable of the negotiations as agreed in the Multiannual Working Programme of the Council of the European Union. They agreed that it is of utmost importance to prepare conditions for achieving the political compromise among Member States by June 2005.
In addition, the Prime Ministers stressed the importance of ensuring that the new financial instruments:
- help bridging the development gap of the economies of all Member States by providing fair access to various programmes in the area of Research & Development and education aimed at reducing the technological gap and improving competitiveness;
- address the infrastructural needs of new Member States;
- promote rural development which is crucial for the success of the on-going reform of the Common Agricultural Policy;
- assist the Union in building an area of freedom, security and justice, including integrated management of the external borders;
- allow the European Union to pursue sound policies towards its Neighbours and future Member States.
The Prime Ministers emphasised the need to find a fair, simple, transparent and financially effective solution to the question of the own resources system of the European Union.
They agreed to continue their consultations in the course of the next stages of the negotiations.