Concluded European Council focused on the future of Europe

18.12.2006 | 11:26

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Brussels, 15 December 2006 – The further enlargement of the European Union was the main topic at the European Union Summit in Brussels that ended today.

The conclusions of the Council state that the enlargement of the European Union has been very successful for the whole of the Community and has given rise to an increase in wealth and stability throughout Europe. The Council welcomed the accession of Bulgaria and Rumania to the European Union on 1 January 2007.

“The Council sent a clear message that the door is open to all European countries, which meet the necessary criteria,” Prime Minister Andrus Ansip said.

The leaders of the European Union also confirmed the European Commission’s proposal to continue accession negotiations with Turkey. In response to Turkey’s unwillingness to open its airports and ports to the means of transport from Cyprus, a decision was made not to start accession talks on issues regarding the functioning of the Internal Market.

In the area of justice and internal affairs, the heads of government and state of the Community pointed to the need for enhanced cooperation. The abolition of boundaries between Member States has given rise to the need for the better coordination of work between police authorities and to improve activities in defending the external borders of the Union.

The discussion, which took place during the Council, was primarily focused on the question of how to make decision making in justice and internal affairs faster and more effective. In this regard, several Member States emphasised the need to move forward with the Treaty establishing a Constitution for Europe. Estonia also believes that the Treaty establishing a Constitution for Europe would be the best solution for making the process of decision making more efficient.

The conclusions of the European Council usually also include foreign issues. The European Council approved declarations on the Middle East peace process, Lebanon, Iran and Africa.

Prime Minister Ansip underlined during the Council that the European Union had to pay more attention to Afghanistan. “I was in Afghanistan a few days ago, and I confirmed while there that the situation is complicated. President Karzai and the government have a clear aim, however, without international assistance, the country cannot be turned in the direction of democracy. It is very important that in this declaration we express our clear preparedness to support Afghanistan on a long term basis,” said Ansip.

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