The EU is getting closer to defining the Common Strategies that are envisaged by the Amsterdam Treaty. The European Council in Vienna on December 11/12 was

expected to adopt recommendations from the December 7 General Affairs Council to draw up a preliminary list which includes Russia, Ukraine, the Mediterranean region (particularly the Barcelona Process and the Middle East peace process), and the Western Balkans. The subjects chosen should be dealt with comprehensively, including thematic issues such as human rights and democracy. The General Affairs Council would be responsible for ensuring coherence in all aspects of EU external relations, under the terms of its proposal.

The EU Political Committee drew up this list in early December. The Common Strategies are intended to add weight and coherence in the external relations of the EU, making full use of all the means and instruments available. This first list focuses deliberately on the neighbouring regions of the EU, because it is there, in the context of enlargement and the development of the acquis communautaire, that the EU has the greatest long-term common interests and the greatest need for coherence and effectiveness. The intention is...

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