JEF Welcomes Important Steps Towards Building New Europe
The Young European Federalists (JEF) welcome the European Commission's Regular Report on the progress of the accession countries, published 9 October. The fact that 10 countries are now invited to conclude negotiations by the end of the year, with a view to joining the Union in 2004, demonstrates the continued strong political commitment to enlargement in both member states and accession countries.
Obstacles, however, still remain in the way of a successful enlargement. JEF calls on member states to show the necessary political courage and resolve the key open questions, most particularly in the area of CAP reform and financial provisions. The future members should also continue to carry out reforms with a special focus on areas pointed out by the Commission. The time for prevarication and delay has passed. It is time to be bold and to seize this historic opportunity to build a new Europe.
Reaching this goal will, however, require a concerted expression of political will from both present and future member states, also in the years beyond the first round of accession. Building a common home for all peoples in Europe will not be an easy undertaking, but the prize of a continent united and at peace is too great to allow short-term difficulties to stand in the way.
Alison Weston, President of JEF, said, “With this important step, the EU is now closer than ever to completing the unification of Europe. Our efforts should not stop here: JEF will continue to work for a closer understanding between all peoples in Europe, free from prejudice, and based on equality, peace, and mutual respect.”
JEF also encourages the negotiating parties to speed up the reforms and restructuring needed in the remaining applicant countries to conclude their negotiations as soon as possible, and also to open the enlargement process with countries of South Eastern Europe in the very near future.