FRANCO FRATTINI - Italian foreign
minister would like to enhance EU-Russian relations and repair transatlantic
relations during Italian EU presidency, starting 1 July. (Photo: European
EUOBSERVER / BRUSSELS -
The Italian government has made calls for the European Convention to finalise
the bulk of its work, before Rome takes over the EU Presidency in July. Rome
wants the Convention to wrap up its work and to allow for a short "cooling down"
period before the intergovernmental conference (IGC) is launched in the
"In this way the IGC would be launched without the main
institutional differences still to be overcome," Italian Foreign Affairs
Minister Franco Frattini said when visiting Brussels on Tuesday.
Italian Premier Silvio Berlusconi mentioned last week the date of June 30 for
the presentation of a report on the outcome of the Convention - a week after the
summit marking the end of the Greek Presidency - but a final decision on this
matter has not been taken yet.
"An agreement on the new treaty should be
reached by the end of this year," Mr Frattini said, mentioning the need for
citizens to be aware of the new constitutional architecture of the EU before
they vote in the European Parliament elections in June 2004.
"If we don't
have adequate time, we would be weakening transparency and legitimacy. We want a
union of states and peoples," Mr Frattini said.
But Giscard wants more
time Yet the Italian foreign affairs minister warned against too large a
gap between the end of the Convention and the beginning of the IGC. "A lengthy
cooling off period could drain the final product of the Convention from its
essence," he warned.
Greece - currently holding the presidency - has also
urged the Convention to finish its work on time, by June.
statements will not be received well by the Convention Chairman Valéry Giscard
d'Estaing, who would prefer more ti me to be given on controversial issues of
future institutional make-up and common foreign and security
Italian Presidency priorities unveiled Franco Frattini
also unveiled the priorities which will be given by Italy when it takes over the
EU lead from July.
On the agenda will be the Western Balkans,
particularly after the EU expressed the wish that one day these countries become
Enhancing of EU-Russia relations will also be given priority,
also due to the special relationship that exists between Italy and
Besides being described last week as a "priveleged neighbour" by
Mr Frattini, he again repeated that Russia "should be integrated within the
European structures". He had also proposed that Russia should participate in
informal EU ambassadors meetings during the Italian Presidency.
Italy's Premier Silvio Berlusconi had also expressed the wish that Russia should
become an EU member.
Italy wants transatlantic relations back on the
track Other items on the agenda will be the reinforcement of the Common
Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP), particularly after EU states had shown
divided views over the Iraq issue, and putting back on track the transatlantic
relations, where Italy sees the EU as a balancing power to the currently enjoyed
power of the US.
Also for the Italian Presidency will be the relaunch of
the Euro-Mediterranean process launched in Barcelona in 1995. The aim of this
process was to create an area of shared prosperity through the progressive
establishment of a free-trade area between the EU and its Partners and among the
12 Mediterranean Partners themselves.
"This process had an ambitious aim,
but the overall results have not been filled with expectations," Mr Frattini
QUESTION: Who controls the government
of Italy? ROME! And who is Rome controlled by? THE VATICAN!
If you have been watching the EU political
movements over the last few decades you would have seen clearly it is a testing
ground for a one world government that will eventually be headquarted in Jerusalem
and run by the Roman Catholic Vatican. Just as prophhecy declared!