The European Council identified the challenges which the Member States of the European Union must meet in order to prepare Europe for the 21st century. In the next five years, we must:

Success in all these tasks will mean that a large community enjoying the benefits of freedom, prosperity and stability can be set up Europewide.


  1. The European Council received with great interest the Report by the Reflection Group, chaired by Mr Westendorp (Annex 15), which had been instructed by the European Council to prepare for the 1996 Intergovernmental Conference. It considers that the guidelines distilled within the Group, following a thorough analysis of the internal and external challenges facing the Union and the possible responses, constitute a sound basis for the work of the Conference.

  2. The Intergovernmental Conference will have to examine those provisions of the Treaty on European Union review of which is expressly called for in the Treaty, as well as those questions which it was decided should be discussed by the Conference, both in the Brussels and Corfu European Council conclusions and in declarations adopted at the time of interinstitutional agreements.

    The European Council also reaffirms the guidelines laid down at its Cannes meeting. The Intergovernmental Conference will, in general, have to examine the improvements which will have to be made to the Treaties to bring the Union into line with today's realities and tomorrow's requirements, in the light of the outcome of the Reflection Group's proceedings.

  3. The European Council agrees that the formal review procedure stipulated in Article N of the Treaty will be carried out as quickly as possible so that the Conference can be officially opened in Turin on 29 March. The European Council takes note of the intention of the forthcoming Italian Presidency to adopt appropriate measures for preparing the Conference.

  4. The Conference will meet regularly, in principle once a month, at the level of Foreign Affairs Ministers, who will have responsibility for all proceedings; preparations will be conducted by a working party made up of a representative of each Member State's Minister for Foreign Affairs and of the President of the Commission.

    The SecretaryGeneral of the Council will make the necessary arrangements to provide secretarial support for the Conference.

  5. The European Parliament will be closely associated with the work of the Conference so that it is both briefed regularly and in detail on the progress of the discussions and can give its point of view, where it considers this necessary, on all matters under discussion. The detailed arrangements for such association will be determined by the Ministers for Foreign Affairs in line with the provisions which apply to the review of the Treaties.

  6. The representatives of those countries of Central and Eastern Europe which have concluded Europe Agreements, and of Malta and Cyprus, will be briefed regularly on the progress of discussions and will be able to put their points of view at meetings with the Presidency of the European Union to be held, in principle, every two months. The European Economic Area and Switzerland will also be briefed.

[Madrid European Council]