News/EU: EU summit identifies crime-fighting tools

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Subject: News/EU: EU summit identifies crime-fighting tools
From: Melanie Orhant (
Date: Fri Oct 22 1999 - 05:23:12 EDT

                 The Atlanta Journal - The Atlanta Constitution
             Copyright, The Atlanta Journal and Constitution - 1999

                            Sunday, October 17, 1999


                    EU summit identifies crime-fighting tools
                                 Jeffrey Ulbrich

    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 countries.

   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 with
 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 more countries next year --- Bulgaria, Romania,
 Latvia, Lithuania, Slovakia and Malta --- 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.

   A draft of the summit's concluding document had contained more
 ambitious wording about bringing laws and procedures in EU countries
 into "approximation." As in many areas of EU cooperation, when it
 comes to surrendering sovereignty or individuality, nations hesitate.

   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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