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EU looks to successful enlargement in 2004

28/02/2002 14:41
Speaking in Brussels yesterday, Mr. Romano Prodi President of the European Commission "Annual Policy Strategy for 2003 and the Convention" to the European Parliament at its plenary session Brussels, stated that for the meeting commencing on the 28 February 2002, the 105 members of the Convention will meet for the very first time. The Convention's task will be to put forward proposals for the Europe of the 21st century and to prepare a first draft of Europe's future Constitution.

For next year the Commission has identified three priorities – Enlargement, Stability and security, a sustainable and inclusive economy.

Mr. Prodi stated that successful enlargement has always been a top priority for the Commission. Enlargement therefore remains a key priority for the second part of his term of office. 2003 will be a very important year in which preparations must be made for the Commission to assume its full responsibilities towards the new Member States.

If enlargement negotiations are completed in 2002, then 2003 must be the pivotal year when the Commission will make sure that enlargement goes ahead smoothly on 1 January 2004. During 2003, therefore, the Commission intends to do several things.
· Help the future Member States prepare to assume fully all the responsibilities arising from accession.
· Make sure the Commission fully complies with its obligations from the very first day of accession.
· Rethink Community policies. This will be the most significant enlargement in the history of European integration, and common policies the enlarged Union will need must be considered.

Outside the Union, another of its priorities is to spread stability and security throughout the european continent and into the regions bordering on the enlarged Union. According to Mr. Prodi, to achieve this, it is essential that partnerships are strengthened with neighbouring countries. Further, the relaunched Euro-Mediterranean partnership must do more than establish a market place: it must create a real community of good neighbours.