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European Council to deal with crucial issues
2005-06-16 10:07:39

Brussels, Jun 16 (CNA) -- The two crucial issues facing the European Union, ratification of the treaty establishing a constitution for Europe and the budget for the period 2007 - 2013, are to dominate the two-day meeting of the 25 leaders of the Union which begins in Brussels this afternoon.

In a letter to the heads of state or government, the current President of the European Council, Prime Minister of Luxembourg Jean-Claude Juncker, said the whole working session Thursday afternoon will be devoted to an initial exchange of views on the issue of the constitution for Europe, which has been ratified already by ten member states but rejected in referenda in France and Holland.

Juncker said the next steps in the process of ratification will be discussed over dinner Thursday evening with a view to adopting a joint declaration on the future course of action. The 25 European leaders will be joined at dinner by the President of the European Parliament, while the Foreign Ministers will discuss during a separate dinner all the external relations issues covered in the draft conclusions of the European Council.

The current President of the Union also informed his counterparts that the whole of Friday will be spent on the issue of the budget, with the aim of reaching political agreement, in the light of major disagreements among Britain, France, Germany and other net contributors.

Our meeting, said Juncker in his letter, comes at a difficult moment in the construction of Europe. ''The citizens of Europe will be expecting answers and action from us. I am counting on your support and cooperation in showing that the European Union is acting in their interest,'' Juncker noted.

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