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23/06/2006 01:13 Local Time 
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European Council (19/20/6/03) and EU-Western Balkans Summit (21/6/03): Issues to be discussed

The European Council meets in Thessaloniki on June 19-20, with the participation for the first time of the leaders of the enlarged Union of 25 Member States.

At the opening session of the European Council on Thursday (19/6), the leaders will discuss the issue of migration (EU financing of programmes and infrastructure works, protection of external borders, problems relating to illegal immigration, etc.)

At the dinner later in the evening, discussion will focus on the Middle East problem, the situation in Iraq, the issue of weapons of mass destruction and the fight against international terrorism.

On Friday (20/6), the President of the European Convention, Valery Giscard d’Estaing, will present the conclusions of the Convention on the Future of Europe. There will also be a roundtable discussion with interventions by the delegations of the ‘25’ and an exchange of views on all outstanding institutional matters (establishment of the posts of full-time EU President and Foreign Minister, election procedure, number of Commissioners, voting). The conclusions of the discussion will subsequently be announced by the President of the European Council, Greek Prime Minister Costas Simitis.

At noon on Friday, during a lunch, the discussion will focus on transatlantic relations and the agenda of the EU – USA Summit to be held in Washington on June 25. In addition, the European Union’s High Representative for CFSP, Javier Solana, will present a text on the European security strategy, following the mandate he was given by EU foreign ministers at their recent informal meeting on the Greek island of Kastellorizo.

In the evening, the three candidate countries (Bulgaria, Romania, Turkey) will have a meeting with the Greek Presidency. Later in the evening, a dinner will be hosted by the President of the Hellenic Republic, Constantine Stephanopoulos


On Saturday (21/6), the European Union – Western Balkans Summit (of Heads of State and Government and Foreign Ministers), with the participation of the High Representative and EU Special Representative to Bosnia-Herzegovina, Lord Ashdown, the UN Special Representative in Kosovo, Michael Steiner and Stability Pact Special Coordinator Dr. Erhard Busek, will focus on relations between the EU and the countries of the Western Balkans. The summit, within the framework of Zagreb Process II, will conclude with the adoption by the European Council of the Thessaloniki Declaration on the strengthening of the European vocation of the countries of the Western Balkans.

 


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