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Amsterdam, Vertrag von#

Amsterdam, Treaty of, signed at Amsterdam on October 2, 1997, entered into force on May 1, 1999 as a revision of the basic treaties of the European Union in a variety of fields: In the area of freedom, security and justice more emphasis is put on human rights and fundamental freedoms as well as the protection of personal data; the Schengen Agreement becomes part of the Amsterdam Treaty; internal security and the fight against crime are to be improved by more intensive cooperation among member states' authorities and a broadening of the terms of reference of Europol, the European Central Criminal Investigation Office. The European Union is to be brought closer to its citizens by a variety of measures, including the coordination of members' employment strategies designed to promote a high level of employment, the fight against social discrimination, the implementation of the principles of equal opportunity and equality of treatment, consideration of environmental protection requirements in connection with all political measures, improvement of public health, intensification of the fight against drug abuse, protection and promotion of cultural diversity, improved protection of animals, and greater transparency of EU institutions. Changes in the EU's Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP) concern not only institutional measures (establishment of the position of High Representative for the CFSP to assist the EU Council and Chairmanship, improvements in the decision-making process) but in particular intensified cooperation between EU and the Western European Union (WEU) and a greater commitment to humanitarian and peace-keeping activities and crisis management. The Treaty provides for the following institutional changes: extension of the terms of reference of the European Parliament, broader powers for the Chairman of the Commission, the European Court of Justice and the Court of Auditors and, prior to the planned enlargement of the European Union, adaptation and democratisation of its organs (including majority decisions).