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European Union

European leaders have launched a major review of the future shape of the European Union in the hope of increasing efficiency and bringing the EU closer to the people.
European institutions must be brought closer to citizens. They want European institutions to be less unwieldy and rigid, and above all, more efficient and open.


Laeken Declaration

"There are weaknesses in the EU that must be eliminated," Belgian Prime Minister Guy Verhofstadt said at a summit in the royal palace of Laeken outside Brussels.
The leaders adopted a declaration that sets up a 105-member convention to analyse the EU's shortcomings, and to propose structural changes.

They appointed the former French President Valery Giscard d'Estaing as its president, and two former prime ministers, Giuliano Amato of Italy and Jean-Luc Dehaene of Belgium, as vice-presidents.Named candidate countries for expansion of EU:

Cyprus
Czech Republic
Estonia
Hungary
Latvia
Lithuania
Malta
Poland
Slovakia
Slovenia

The two candidate countries not present on the list of those expected to join the EU in 2004, Bulgaria and Romania, were promised a "precise framework with a timetable and appropriate roadmap".

Diplomats said they were not expected to join the EU before 2007.

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