EU leaders discuss financial perspective for 2007-2013
by Maria Myles
Brussels, Jun 17 (CNA) -- European Union leaders gathered here today for the second day of the summit to discuss the thorny issue of the Union's financial perspective for 2007 - 2013.
Luxembourg Prime Minister Jean Claude Juncker, current Council president, has already had a series of meetings with other EU leaders to try and iron out differences over this issue.
As there is no consensus on this matter so far, the draft conclusions of the summit make no reference to the EU budget but instead there is a gap to be filled in according to the final outcome of the discussions that are taking place today.
The 25 EU leaders will also be presented with the text of a common declaration on the future process of ratification of the European Constitution, for discussion with a view to adopting the declaration unanimously.
President Tassos Papadopoulos, representing Cyprus at the summit, has said he fully supports the continuation of the ratification process and expressed hope that the House of Representatives will endorse the Constitution at its session on 29-30 June.
Meanwhile, the draft conclusions of the European Council, a copy of which CNA has secured, make no specific reference to Turkey.
''The European welcomes the signing of the Accession Treaty in Luxembour of 25 April 2005, which marks a further important step towards the accession of Bulgaria and Romania to the European Union,'' the conclusions say.
Those countries will now participate in the proceedings of the European Council, the Council and its preparatory bodies as active observers.
Paragraph three of the draft conclusions, notes that the ''European Council also refers to its conclusions of 16 and 17 December 2004 on enlargement and highlights the need to implement them fully.''
Prior to the start of today's deliberations, President Papadopoulos met with Greek Prime Minister Kostas Karamanlis to discuss issues of mutual interest.
EU leaders are expected to conclude the second working session of their summit at around 1400 local time and then they will continue their discussions in the afternoon.
Luxembourg has cancelled the regular meeting with the candidate countries (Romania, Bulgaria, Turkey and Croatia), that normally takes place after the end of the EU summit, to inform the leaders of the candidate countries about the decisions European leaders have taken. The presidency said the unpredictability of this European Council in terms of time was the reason that had led them to this decision.