The European Commission has called on Member States at the Laeken European Council to provide the Convention on institutional reform with an extended mandate. The Commission Communication, adopted on December 5, also emphasises the importance of the "Community method" in drifting European policies in the perspective of enlargement. "I am expecting a coherent document from this Convention, with a hierarchy of proposals adopted by consensus, i.e. not necessarily unanimously, but retaining both majority and minority options" said Commission President Romano Prodi. Institutional Affairs Commissioner Michel Barnier added: "The work of the Convention should be useful to and usable by the Inter-Governmental Conference". Mr Prodi and Mr Barnier also expressed a very clear position on the sensitive issue of the timetable for the Convention's work and thereafter the IGC. They argue that the Convention, which will begin its work in March 2002, should submit its report in March or April 2003, with the IGC to begin the following autumn at the latest and conclude by January-February 2004, in order to permit the European Parliament to vote before the elections at the end of the legislature in June 2004.In accordance with guidelines agreed at the informal seminar in Knokke (see separate article in this Section), the document adopted by the College merely outlines how the Commission proposes to approach the Laeken European Council. More specific contributions should be tabled from January 2002, notably concerning the Commission's...

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