Spanish Prime Minister and current President of the European Council Jos? Maria Aznar has opened the first session of the future of Europe Convention, saying the body should make "ideal proposals for consolidating the European project, for furthering integration and for moving forward in the process of constitutionalisation of the European Union". Speaking at the official opening of the inaugural session of the Convention on February 28, European Parliament President Pat Cox congratulated EU leaders on the "parliamentary method" they chose at the Laeken Summit for the Convention. He quoted Irish poet William Yeats to illustrate the hopes placed in the Convention's work. "I have spread my dreams under your feet; Tread softly because you tread on my dreams". Commission President Romano Prodi spoke more concretely, calling for a "Constitution which marks the birth of Europe as a political entity". He said that he was open to a far-reaching reorganisation of the EU including the rights of the Commission itself. "Tasks and responsibilities currently assumed at Union level can and must be reviewed and devolved to the Member States. The Commission will not shirk its responsibilities and is ready to play its part, to change in accordance with Europe's new needs", he said. The Commission was ready to "redefine its own tasks to take on new responsibilities in fields where the future of Europe is at stake. It is also ready to give up part of its powers if this contributes to the greater common good. All the institutions here represented have in fact the duty to call themselves into question in the context of this Convention".In closing the inaugural meeting, before the opening of the first formal session which was to decide the Convention's working methods, Convention President Val?ry Giscard d'Estaing addressed the "Conventionists", saying: "You have the power vested in any...

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