EUROPEAN INTEGRATION: PRESIDENCY LAUNCHES POST-NICE DEBATE WITH YOUNG EUROPEANS.

The website launched by the Presidency is intended as a forum where all contributions to the debate can be presented and discussed. The first contributions were made by Goran Persson, Guy Verhofstadt, Romano Prodi and Michel Barnier. Mr Persson invited his colleagues in other Member States and the candidate countries to offer their contributions before the Gothenburg European Council. In his written contribution, Goran Persson indicates that he is especially interested in the development of certain common policies - notably on the environment, asylum and immigration, the fight against crime, food safety and consumer protection - rather than institutional questions. He believes that the 2004 Inter-Governmental Conference should also focus on budgetary procedure and the EU's external dimension. But he does not back a constitution for the EU, arguing that the four issues outlined in the Nice Declaration (catalogue of responsibilities, simplification of Treaties, Charter of Fundamental Rights and role of national parliaments) should be addressed with care and should in no way undermine the EU's acquis communautaire - or body of law.Questioned by a pupil over how to convince a dubious public in certain Member States of the merits of the single currency, Romano Prodi offered the...

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