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P

Pact on Stability in Europe

Signed in 1995, the Pact (known also as the Balladur Plan after its author, French prime minister Edouard Balladur) was a 'joint action' under the Common Foreign and Security Policy. It promised a framework for 'lasting good-neighbourliness' in Central and Eastern Europe under the aegis of the EU and the OSCE - a pious but unconvincing aspiration in the context of the wars in Bosnia, Kosovo and Chechnya. Doubtless the Pact was also intended to demonstrate the EU's ability to 'assert itself on the international scene'.

Pan-Europa

The brainchild of the inter-war idealist Count Coudenhove-Kalergi, Pan-Europa was to be one of six peace-loving political groupings within the League of Nations (the others being the British empire, Pan-America, the USSR, China and Japan). Coudenhove-Kalergi won sympathy and influence in high places, but failed to capture the mainstream of the European movement, which succumbed to the pragmatism of Jean Monnet.

Papandreou, Andreas (1919-95)

Deeply disliked in the EU, Andreas Papandreou was twice socialist prime minister of Greece between 1981 and 1995, his country's first years as a member state. Nationalistic, anti-American, pro-Serbian and pro-Soviet, Papandreou opposed most EU initiatives for integration, vetoed recognition of the former Yugoslav republic of Macedonia and consistently blighted relations with Turkey.

Partnership for Peace

See NATO.

Party groups

See Political groups.

Party list

The system, common on the Continent, whereby votes are cast for parties rather than for individual constituency candidates. The parties then appoint representatives (proportionally to the vote) from a national or regional list of names in a pre-selected order. Party lists, which ensure a high degree of obedience to the leadership's line, were used for the first time in the UK for the Scottish and Welsh post-devolution elections, as well as for the 1999 elections to the European Parliament.

Passerelle

The 'gangway' or 'footbridge' clause of the Maastricht Treaty allowing the Council (subject to a unanimous vote) to transfer responsibility for some aspects of Justice and Home Affairs from member governments to the Community and its supranational institutions. Like the acquis communautaire, the passerelle is a one-way passage: there is no provision for the transfer of powers in the opposite direction.

La pensée unique

The notion that the sole preoccupation of French European policy is, or should be, solidarity with Germany.

Pensions

Most state pensions in Europe are on a pay-as-you-go basis, whereby current payments are met from contributions, tax and other current income. As populations age, fewer wage-earners will be supporting more people in retirement and the affordability of state pensions will deteriorate, leaving governments with harsh options: to reduce benefits; to increase contributions or taxes; or to raise the retirement age. The exception is the UK, where state pensions are extensively supplemented by private funded schemes - the value of funds set aside and invested to meet future British pension commitments exceeds that of all the other EU member countries combined.

It has been estimated that if the pension obligations of Europe's major economies were to be fully funded, it would cost Germany, France and Italy the equivalent of about 100% of each country's GDP, whereas the cost to the UK would be under 20%. This hidden liability is known as the net present value of underfunded pensions. Although the actuarial assumptions and methods of calculation differ slightly from one source to another, the order of magnitude is broadly agreed by the OECD, the International Monetary Fund and the European Commission. Another way of expressing the same deficiency is to say that Germany and France should be allocating about 3% more of their GDP each year for pension provision if they are to meet, without extra borrowing, the promises of generous index-linked retirement benefits given to voters during the last 30 years.

The size of the shortfall is such that if it had been included in the debt calculations used to judge which large European countries qualified on a sustainable basis for the single currency, only the UK would have passed the test. The problem is containable for a few more years, but by 2005 it will worsen and after 2010, when the baby-boom generation retires, EU member states may not be able to afford their pension commitments. Some UK Eurosceptics have expressed the fear that at that stage a unified European balance sheet or tax harmonisation might be invoked to make the UK pay more than its fair share, despite the clause in the Maastricht Treaty shielding countries from being forced to bail each other out.

The terms of pensions in Europe inhibit the mobility of labour by depriving employees of their acquired rights when they cross borders, a feature which is contrary to the principles of the Treaty of Rome and an impediment to the single market. The Commission's idea of a portability Directive appears well conceived. It has, however, been blocked by countries which regard pensions as a loyalty bonus rather than an independent entitlement, still less an adjunct to flexible markets.

People's Europe

The term People's Europe was coined in 1984 by the European Council, which set up a committee presided over by an Italian, Pietro Adonnino, to explore ways to strengthen the European identity. Among the Adonnino Committee's recommendations were a Euro-lottery (an idea scotched by the British), European citizenship, the European passport, the European flag, a uniform electoral procedure, mutual recognition of qualifications, common postage stamps, an Ombudsman and proposals to improve the workings of the single market. Many of these suggestions were adopted. When the UK assumed the presidency in 1998 the phrase People's Europe was revived, reflecting the aspiration of Prime Minister Tony Blair for a more user-friendly Community and mirroring the People's Britain image on which the Labour Party had successfully campaigned its way to power.

Peripherality

The notion, adroitly exploited by Ireland, Southern Italy and Greece, that being on the outskirts of the EU is economically so disadvantageous as to merit large subsidies.

Permanent representatives

The purpose of the EU legations of the member states in Brussels, which are known as permanent or national representations, is to support their parent country's negotiating stance, resolve differences with other member states and supply comprehensive information on EU affairs to policy-makers at home. They are thus intended to act as a counterweight to the centralising tendencies of the Commission.

The station heads, or permanent representatives, with senior ambassadorial rank, meet collectively as COREPER, the influential committee which prepares the meetings of the Council of Ministers and presides over the behind-the-scenes bargaining process which underlies all Community legislation. The British representation, UKREP, is typical of the legations of the leading member states. It is led by a Foreign Office appointee, supported by a number of senior officials, many seconded from Whitehall. UKREP's reporting line to the Foreign Office ensures the predominance of that department's way of thinking. It is, indeed, characteristic of the national representations that domestic opinion often regards them as overly susceptible to the blandishments and compromises of the Brussels milieu.

Petersberg Declaration

The Petersberg Declaration of 1992 identified humanitarian and rescue tasks, peace-keeping and crisis management (the so-called 'Petersberg tasks') as suitable activities for the WEU. In 1997 these objectives were brought into the Common Foreign and Security Policy by the Treaty of Amsterdam. (See also WEU.)

PHARE

Originally a programme of aid from the advanced countries to assist post-communist Poland and Hungary, PHARE was later extended to cover ten other Central and Eastern European states. Administered by the Commission, PHARE has been absorbing over $1 billion a year in EU hand-outs and has become a byword for waste and corruption. (See also TACIS.)

Pillars

The EU is said to stand like a temple on three pillars: the Community; the Common Foreign and Security Policy; and co-operation in the field of Justice and Home Affairs (recast in the 1997 Treaty of Amsterdam as Police and Judicial Co-operation in Criminal Matters). These pillars are of unequal strength. The Community (essentially the supranational institutions and policies created by the Treaty of Rome as amended by the Single European Act, the Maastricht Treaty and the Treaty of Amsterdam) is the first pillar and dominates the life of the Union. By contrast, the second and third pillars (the intergovernmental policies created by the Maastricht and Amsterdam Treaties) represent areas of looser co-operation between national governments. To shift activities from the other two pillars to the first pillar is the constant ambition of integrationists, for whom the temple metaphor doubtless symbolises the vision of Europe as a stately building whose architecture is ultimately destined to belong entirely to the Union. (See also Community method.)

Poland

The Polish national anthem, 'Poland has not yet been destroyed', bears witness to the country's oppression over the centuries. Split between Austria, Prussia and Russia in 1795, Poland regained its independence in 1918, only to be redivided between Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union in 1939 following Hitler's invasion. Overrun by the Red Army in 1944, Poland became a Soviet puppet state after the war, a process completed in 1952 when the socialist and communist parties merged to form the Polish United Workers' Party (PUWP). Strikes in 1980, caused by price rises, involved 300,000 workers and forced the PUWP to allow independent trade unions, notably Lech Walesa's Solidarity movement, which continued to exist underground after the declaration of martial law in 1981. Further concessions made by the government during the 1980s, including the freeing of political prisoners, failed to arrest the growth of Solidarity. Renewed strikes in 1989 culminated in talks between Lech Walesa and the PUWP. The resultant package of reforms led to elections in the summer of 1989, in which the PUWP was defeated.

Succeeding coalition governments instituted market liberalisation, but the initial outcome was higher prices, rising unemployment and a breach of internationally agreed budgetary limits, leading to a prescription of shock therapy from the IMF in 1992 and 1993. The medicine was efficacious. Rapid GDP growth has curbed unemployment and privatisation is transforming industrial competitiveness. Supported by a favourable Commission Opinion, Poland began accession negotiations with the EU in 1998.

An invitation to join NATO in 1997 perhaps owed something to Poland's historical position as a buffer state (Russia, at least, construed the invitation negatively), but from Poland's standpoint it stood alongside the application for membership of the EU as evidence of the national determination to be accepted back into the mainstream of Western civilisation. Poland's accession to the EU will add a Catholic population of approximately the same size as that of Spain, and agricultural land about equal to that of the UK or Italy. With GDP per head at one-third of the level of Portugal and Greece, the poorest current member states, Poland would in theory be entitled to structural funds and CAP subsidies beyond the compass of the EU budget as it now stands. Moreover, wage levels will make it a formidable competitor. Already the prospect is causing distress and pre-emptive protest from the main recipients and providers of Community largesse. Thus although the country is expected to be among the first East European states to be accepted, the process still has much resistance to overcome.

Police and Judicial Co-operation in Criminal Matters

Police and Judicial Co-operation in Criminal Matters is the new heading, introduced in the 1997 Treaty of Amsterdam, of the Maastricht Treaty's Title VI, previously called Justice and Home Affairs. The change of name reflects a narrower focus, asylum, visas, immigration and frontier controls having been transferred to the supranational 'first pillar' of the EU and the Schengen Agreement having been incorporated into the Treaty on European Union by way of a protocol. (Confusingly, the 'third pillar' of the EU is still known generically as Justice and Home Affairs.)

The aim of the policy is to pave the way to legal harmonisation and to increase co-operation between the judicial, police and customs authorities of the member states in matters concerning organised crime, terrorism, fraud and arms and drug trafficking. 'Preventing and combating' the indeterminate crimes of 'racism and xenophobia' is also brought in as a Treaty objective. In general, the wording of the Maastricht Treaty has been largely rewritten to emphasise the guiding role of the Community (including a strengthened Europol) at the expense of the member states. (See also Corpus Juris and Justice and Home Affairs.)

Political Committee

Senior officials in foreign ministries, who meet monthly as a committee to advise the Council on foreign and security policy.

Political groups

The European Parliament contains some nine loose political, or party, groupings, of which the largest are the Party of European Socialists (PES) and the European People's Party (EPP), the latter dominated by German Christian Democrats, Spanish Partido Popular members and Forza Italia, in coalition with British Conservatives and French parties of the right. The other groups include Liberals of various hues, Greens, a Communist-Nordic Left alliance and miscellaneous smaller coalitions.

The two big groups, with well over half the votes, control the Parliament and collude over all major decisions - a necessary procedure, since the Parliament's right of 'co-decision' with the Council of Ministers depends on its ability to muster an absolute majority of MEPs. The other 'parties' are for the most part a shifting sand of unstable membership, sometimes held together by little more than the desire to obtain office and parliamentary funds, both of which are dispersed according to the number of affiliated MEPs.

Certain of the political groups, notably the Socialists, the EPP, the Liberal federation and the Greens, have made efforts to turn themselves into real European parties. The Maastricht Treaty welcomed the emergence of such cross-border parties as a 'factor for integration contributing to European awareness'. But these efforts have not met with success, above all because the Parliament is essentially an advisory body, with no responsibility for a legislative programme for which it might be held to account. Among the other obstacles are media and voter indifference, the unsatisfactory nature of the Parliament itself, the ceiling on personal advancement and the tendency of individual MEPs to vote along national lines if their own country's interests are threatened. (See Appendix 3.)

Pompidou, Georges (1911-74)

Georges Pompidou's rise from the directorship of the French Rothschild bank to prime minister (1962-8), without previous experience of elective office, was characteristic of the presidential style of government initiated by Charles de Gaulle. When de Gaulle returned to power in 1958, Pompidou helped draft the constitution of the Fifth Republic; he became premier after playing a part in negotiating an end to the Algerian war of independence. De Gaulle dismissed Pompidou following the unrest and student rioting which paralysed France in 1968, but his own political position had been fatally damaged and when he stepped down in 1969 Pompidou stood for, and was elected to, the presidency, an office that he held until his death in 1974. Pompidou maintained French links with the Soviet Union and controversially expanded arms exports to the Middle East to secure the oil on which France was dependent. In these, as in many other policies, he remained a Gaullist. In European affairs, however, although averse to supranationalism he distanced himself from some of his predecessor's positions, lifting the veto on British membership of the EEC and, with the German chancellor, Willy Brandt, launching the Community's first effort at monetary union - the latter initiative soon collapsing in the wake of the Arab-Israeli war and the resulting oil crisis.

Portugal

A founder member of NATO and EFTA, Portugal applied to join the EC in 1977, the same year as Spain, and the two countries were admitted together in 1986. Previously, Portugal had been disqualified, having had an authoritarian government for 50 years (36 of them under the dictator Salazar), which ended only when a Marxist coup failed and democracy was restored in 1976. As one of the poorest member states Portugal is a major recipient of structural funds from the Community. This has helped the country to achieve above average growth, and its budgetary discipline has been sufficient for it to have been invited in 1998 to join the first group of participants in the single currency.

Spain, Italy, Greece and Portugal (the 'Club Med') together command 28 votes in the Council of Ministers, sufficient for a blocking minority under qualified majority voting. The countries share a number of interests, including an interest in the Common Fisheries Policy, although Portugal generally relies on the larger Club Med members to bear the brunt of negotiations to maximise the share of Community resources allocated to the south European coastal states. The Portuguese economy continued to expand in the late 1990s, bring much needed modernisation and raising the country's GDP, on some measurements, to nearly 75% of the EU average. Questions remain, however, about the future. The standard of education has dropped and the country risks remaining dependent for competitiveness on low wages. The funding of universal free education and a burgeoning welfare state will be affected by the low birth rate, and when the EU's enlargement brings in states with an even more pressing need for subsidies, the grants which Portugal has enjoyed may come under pressure. It is therefore recognised that further reform may be needed if the country is to sustain its momentum.

Preaccession

In view of the large number of Central and Eastern European countries applying for membership of the EU, the European Council has adoped a general 'preaccession strategy'. Candidates are urged to undertake an extensive legislative programme in preparation for harmonising with Community law. They are also invited to enter into a 'structured dialogue' with member states, so as to immerse themselves in broader policy issues.

Preamble

The introductory Resolutions and Affirmations by the heads of state at the beginning of the EU's key Treaties were written after the Treaties had been formulated and serve to describe, in general terms, the issues agreed. Like the Declarations attached to the end of the Treaties, these Preambles are not legally binding. They are, however, important in that they are intended to express the common political will among the contracting parties and to define the intentions of the Community. They therefore form the basis of interpretation of the Treaties and the justification for any resultant legislation.

'Pre-in'

A country which intends to adopt the single currency but either is temporarily unable to do so for political reasons or is barred because it fails to meet the Maastricht 'convergence criteria'.

Preliminary ruling

A ruling on a point of Community law given by the Court of Justice to a national court of law. Such rulings are now one of the principal ways in which the Court of Justice extends its reach into domestic law and ensures that its decisions are enforced. (See also European Court of Justice.)

Presidency

The six-monthly presidency of the Council of Ministers and the European Council rotates between member states and is chaired by the appropriate minister, known as the 'president-in-office', for the subject under discussion (prime minister for the European Council, agriculture minister for the CAP, finance minister for Ecofin, and so on). The member state occupying the presidency is in addition entitled to its regular national seat at the Council of Ministers.

The presidency sets the EU's agenda, mediates differences (or settles them by qualified majority voting), answers to the European Parliament and speaks for the EU in international circles. It is also responsible for managing the Common Foreign and Security Policy and co-operation in Justice and Home Affairs. Such an aggregation of powers can be comically incongruous during the presidency of a small country with self-important ministers.

As the Union is enlarged, the presidency of each major country will come round at longer intervals and the Commission will increasingly have to orchestrate the presidencies of the small and micro-states. It is probable, therefore, that the larger powers will tend to settle the important issues behind the scenes, as France and Germany have often done in the past.

Primacy

The doctrine that Community law is superior to national law. The 1997 Treaty of Amsterdam went further, implying (in the protocol on subsidiarity) that Community law is also superior to national constitutions, a doctrine previously rejected by a number of EU member states, including Germany, France and Denmark. The view taken (or, in the words of the protocol, 'developed') by the European Court of Justice is that the Treaty of Rome created a new legal order which has precedence over all pre-existing or subsequent laws in the member states. The Treaty of Amsterdam confirmed that interpretation, emphasising the principle that 'the Union shall provide itself with the means necessary to attain its objectives'. (See also Community law.)

Prodi, Romano (1939-)

A former Christian Democrat, Romano Prodi was Italian prime minister from 1996 to 1998 as head of the left-of-centre 'olive tree' coalition. He made participation in the single currency the cornerstone of Italian policy, for which he demanded an austerity programme that sometimes seemed on the verge of bringing down his government. Initially, Italy's creative accounting to meet the Maastricht convergence criteria fuelled German doubts about the country's suitability for EMU, but Prodi's intensive lobbying, supported by France, overcame resistance and in spring 1998 Italy was admitted to founder membership of the euro club. In March 1999 the European Commission resigned en bloc, in response to an investigation charging them with incompetence and irresponsibility. Prodi, a committed integrationist, was chosen to succeed Jacques Santer as president, but was soon dogged by murky suggestions about his previous career as chairman of Italy's state holding company IRI. The allegations were not untypical in Italian political circles and were strongly denied, but it was an uncomfortable start to the mission of introducing 'zero tolerance' to the conduct of the Community's affairs.

Propaganda

Different authorities give different accounts of the amount spent by the Community on information. A former special adviser to the Commission once estimated it (how reliably is hard to judge) at $750 million per year. In 1998 the European Parliament approved a $75 million campaign to promote the euro. In 1999 the Commission accounts showed expenditure of nearly $150 million on information (a quarter of it on the euro, aimed partly at schools) and plans were announced to spend another $150 million promoting the benefits of enlargement. Each Commission Directorate-General and each Community institution has its own public relations activities, and of the numerous pro-European lobbying organisations in member states some are part-funded from European sources. The true overall expenditure figures are, however, impossible to establish, given the multiplicity of institutions and the slim dividing lines between normal information, public relations and propaganda, lines made hazier by the absence of any internal democratic opposition to the Community's policy of integration.

The British people must be led slowly and unconsciously into the abandonment of their traditional economic defences, not asked. Peter Thorneycroft, a member of Harold Macmillan's cabinet which applied to join the EEC in 1961

From the outset the Community's strategy has been to spare no expense to place itself in a favourable light as the defender of the citizen against exploitation and the purveyor of peace and prosperity to member states. Emphasis is given to the success of regional aid programmes, the voter-friendly role of 'subsidiarity', the supposedly overwhelming support for the EU among enlightened people and the bright prospects for growth and jobs. The 'inevitability' of the process of political union is repeatedly stressed. As an inducement to think positively, many of the more than 750 journalists accredited to Brussels are paid for helpful reports, recruited to compose articles for Commission publications or given grants for writing books. By such means they can double their regular salaries. Although lip service is paid to transparency, investigative journalists seeking factual information are met with the ruling of the Court of Justice that the Commission may 'regulate the right of public access' to relevant documents.

Information policy is focused, with advice from experts in psychology. A 1993 report advocated targeting young people 'where resistance is weakest' and women, as more 'intuitively inclined ... to recognise the advantages of a better future'. As early as 1954 the European Coal and Steel Community commissioned a study which concluded 'it is necessary to play on sentiments and appeal to beliefs held without judgment, in short to everything which constitutes the psychological temperament of the crowd'.

Proportionality

Proportionality is the principle, often linked with the principle of subsidiarity, that Community legislation should be the minimum necessary to achieve its purpose.

Proporz

The Austrian 'proportion' system, challenged by the emergence of Jorg Haider's Freedom Party, under which the two traditional main parties, the People's Party and the Social Democrats (the Blacks and the Reds), have for decades carved up between them all public sector jobs of any consequence.

Protocol

An annex to a Treaty, having legal force and generally containing an amplification or exception to the main text, such as an opt-out or the statute of a new institution.

Public purchasing

Successive Directives since the early 1970s have established that contracts placed by public bodies in the Community should be advertised in the Official Journal for open tender throughout the EU. The system operates unevenly, some member states being more scrupulous than others in following the letter of the law.

 
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