Subject: News/EU: EU nations plan closer legal ties - Leaders at summit agree to improve police
From: Melanie Orhant (email@example.com)
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
EU nations plan closer legal ties - Leaders at summit agree to improve
and judicial cooperation
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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