News/EU: EU nations plan closer legal ties - Leaders at summit agree to improve police

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Subject: News/EU: EU nations plan closer legal ties - Leaders at summit agree to improve police
From: Melanie Orhant (morhant@igc.org)
Date: Fri Oct 22 1999 - 05:22:52 EDT


                          The Star-Ledger Newark, NJ
                 (c) 1999. The Star-Ledger. All rights reserved.

                            Sunday, October 17, 1999

                                      News

 EU nations plan closer legal ties - Leaders at summit agree to improve
police
                            and judicial cooperation
                                ASSOCIATED PRESS

   Looking for more weapons to fight crime in the new, borderless Europe,
 European Union leaders set out new objectives yesterday 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 that
 would include common standards for procedures, conditions for reception
 of asylum seekers and rules on refugee status.

   In a statement, the EU leaders said 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."

   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."

TABULAR OR GRAPHIC MATERIAL SET FORTH IN THIS DOCUMENT IS NOT DISPLAYABLE

  1. Prime Minister Tony Blair of Great Britain, left, and Prime Minister Jean
 Claude Juncker of Luxembourg talk at the European Union's summit in Tampere,
 Finland, which ended yesterday.


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