Subject: News/EU: EU Moves for Closer Cop Cooperation
From: Melanie Orhant (email@example.com)
Date: Fri Jan 01 1904 - 18:18:27 EST
Copyright 1999 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.
Saturday, October 16, 1999
EU Moves for Closer Cop Cooperation
By JEFFREY ULBRICH
Associated Press Writer
TAMPERE, Finland (AP) - Looking for more weapons to fight crime in
the new, borderless Europe, European Union leaders set out new
objectives Saturday for closer police and judicial cooperation between
Ending their two-day summit in this lakeside Finnish city, EU leaders
agreed to develop a broad range of measures that would allow better
cooperation among police forces, ease extradition of criminals,
recognize judicial decisions made in other member countries, and crack
down on money laundering and trafficking in people and drugs.
The objectives are also aimed at getting a better handle on
immigrants and asylum seekers. There are almost no border controls
between the 15 nations in the European Union.
EU leaders also agreed to establish a European asylum system that
would include common standards for procedures, conditions for reception
of asylum seekers and rules on refugee status.
The leaders also reached a consensus on starting membership
negotiations with six additional countries next year, possibly enlarging
the European Union as early as 2003.
They backed away, however, from establishing a special fund of $265
million to assist member states facing a mass influx of refugees. They
also shied away from any hint of making their laws and systems uniform.
An early draft of the summit's concluding document contained much
more ambitious wording about bringing laws and procedures in EU
countries into "approximation." As in many areas of EU cooperation, when
it comes down to the crunch for surrendering sovereignty or national
individuality, nations hesitate.
"We are dealing with another part of the European integration
policy," said German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder. "We will only be able
to build it step by step."
French Premier Lionel Jospin said: "France is against a single system
but for a common approach that respects the sovereignty of nations."
The organization started membership negotiations last year with
Cyprus, Estonia, Slovenia, Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic. This
week the EU Commission recommended that negotiations start next year
with Bulgaria, Romania, Latvia, Lithuania, Slovakia and Malta.
A final decision on widening the negotiations will not be made until
the next EU summit, which is scheduled for Dec. 11-12 in Helsinki, but
there seemed little doubt after discussions here that the idea would get
the green light. That leaves Turkey as the only aspirant country seen as
unfit to begin membership talks.
Turkey, officials said, still has a lot of progress to make on human
rights, one of the main criteria for EU membership.
In a statement, EU leaders said Saturday they deeply regret the U.S.
Senate's vote not to ratify the nuclear test ban treaty because "this
sends the wrong signal to would-be nuclear proliferators."
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