Europe South Asia Asia Pacific Americas Middle East Africa BBC Homepage World Service Education

Front Page



UK Politics







Talking Point

In Depth

On Air

Low Graphics

Saturday, May 1, 1999 Published at 07:24 GMT 08:24 UK

World: Europe

Amsterdam Treaty brings Europe closer

New dawn, but how long before anyone notices?

The European Union enters a new phase of integration on Saturday, when the Amsterdam Treaty comes into effect.

The treaty lays the foundation for a common justice policy and closer co-operation in foreign affairs and defence.

It was agreed by Europe's leaders in the Dutch capital Amsterdam in 1997.

The European Parliament will gain joint legislative powers with EU governments in all areas except monetary and economic issues - and it will have the authority to reject the new president of the European Commission.

First test

The parliament will exercise this power next week when it votes on whether to accept Romano Prodi.

The Amsterdam Treaty followed the Maastricht agreement which paved the way for the European single currency.

Member States will share asylum and immigration laws, although countries not signed up to the EU's border-free Schengen agreement - Britain, Ireland and Denmark - will be partially exempt.

Foreign policy

EU leaders are going to name a high representative to deal in situations like Kosovo next month.

In future, the body may deploy forces for humanitarian and peace-keeping tasks, an area in which the EU is widely seen as having failed to act together. There will also be more co-operation in defence matters.

The treaty also makes a commitment to job creation - at the time it was written, unemployment was seen as Europe's biggest problem

But BBC Europe Correspondent Jonathan Beale says that, even though the Amsterdam Treaty comes into force today, the truth is that it may take years for Europe's citizens to notice the results.

Advanced options | Search tips

Back to top | BBC News Home | BBC Homepage | ©

Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East | South Asia

Relevant Stories

25 Mar 99 | The Economy
The EU Budget explained

11 Dec 98 | From Our Own Correspondent
Following the blueprint of European union

10 Jun 98 | UK Politics
Commons presses on with Amsterdam Treaty

28 May 98 | Europe
Danes say 'yes' to EU enlargement

Internet Links

Amsterdam Treaty

European Union

European Parliament

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites.

In this section

Violence greets Clinton visit

Russian forces pound Grozny

EU fraud: a billion dollar bill

Next steps for peace

Cardinal may face loan-shark charges

From Business
Vodafone takeover battle heats up

Trans-Turkish pipeline deal signed

French party seeks new leader

Jube tube debut

Athens riots for Clinton visit

UN envoy discusses Chechnya in Moscow

Solana new Western European Union chief

Moldova's PM-designate withdraws

Chechen government welcomes summit

In pictures: Clinton's violent welcome

Georgia protests over Russian 'attack'

UN chief: No Chechen 'catastrophe'

New arms control treaty for Europe

From Business
Mannesmann fights back

EU fraud -- a billion-dollar bill

New moves in Spain's terror scandal

EU allows labelling of British beef

UN seeks more security in Chechnya

Athens riots for Clinton visit

Russia's media war over Chechnya

Homeless suffer as quake toll rises

Analysis: East-West relations must shift