The Belgian Presidency says it will give the GAC a preview of the =Declaration on the Future of Europe that is expected to be adopted at =the Laeken Council of EU leaders in December. The draft Declaration is =meant to be finalised during a tour of EU capitals by Belgian Prime =Minister Guy Verhofstadt in the run up to the Laeken European Council. =The declaration should describe the state of the EU and public =perceptions of it, as well as themes and organisational details for the =Convention that is due to consider the future of Europe. The Convention, =which will contain representatives of EU Member State governments and =parliaments, the European Parliament and Commission, and Candidate =Countries (as observers), is expected to meet from March 2002-June 2003. =It will in turn establish a series of options for the 2004 =Intergovernmental Conference that will draw up a new EU treaty.--The five proposed themes of the Convention were decided at the Ghent =European Council on October 19, based on proposals agreed at the Nice =Council of December 2000. They are:-The objectives and content of EU policies;- Division of powers between the EU institutions and Member States;- Democratic legitimacy, including the relationship with Member State =parliaments;- Capacity of the EU to make and implement policy, with a view to =returning the detail of implementation to national administrations;- The "general presentation of the European project", incorporating the =simplification of the treaties.--A Belgian diplomat said the Presidency considered the Future of Europe ="the most important" element of the GAC. She added that the ministers =would begin the detailed examination of the "substance" of the reform =process. An EU official added that the GAC would help define the themes =for the Convention. He added that the choice of a Convention President =would not be decided until Laeken, but confirmed that the shortlist =consisted of French ex-President Guiscard d'Estaign, and French =ex-Commission President Jacques Delors.On EU enlargement, officials say there is not expected to be a detailed =discussion. The Commissioner responsible, G=81nter Verheugen, will =present to ministers his strategy document and Regular Reports on =candidate countries, which were published on November 13. These were =largely positive, predicting the conclusion of negotiations with the ten =best-prepared countries in 2002. This opens the possibility of their =accession in 2004...

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