Winter 2004

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Letter from the Publisher

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Twin Crises Could Strengthen both the EU and the WTO

 Reginald Dale"It often takes a crisis to focus the mind, and we are now striving to mobilize our collective will once again." Those words are taken from an article in this issue of European Affairs by Pascal Lamy, a French member of the European Commission, who was trying to put a positive spin on the brutal collapse of an important set of international negotiations. Mr. Lamy, the Commissioner for Trade, was speaking about the failure of the World Trade Organization meeting in Cancun in September, which has left efforts to strengthen the world trading system in a dangerous limbo.

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Failure at the Summit Has Created an Ongoing EU Crisis

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The collapse of the EU summit meeting in Brussels in mid-December and the failure to agree a new constitutional treaty has thrown the European Union into a major and unprecedented crisis. Attempts by many EU politicians to talk down the severity of the crisis will not help in building a rapid and effective response to it.

The ambition of a new treaty to ensure a more democratic European Union closer to the people, and an efficient, enlarged Union with a real voice in global affairs, is for now suspended. This is indeed a crisis about enlargement, since it was the new European Union of 25 members that in an unprecedented manner failed to find a compromise to finalize two years of work spent drafting the treaty by a special constitutional convention.

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The U.S. and Europe Have a Unique Opportunity to Create a Better World

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Chuck HagelExactly half a century ago, in 1953, General George Marshall went to Oslo to accept the Nobel Peace Prize, and the remarks he made on that occasion are astonishingly relevant to the great challenge that we have before us today. The challenge is to strengthen the most significant alliance in history, the most important partnership in history, the Transatlantic partnership.

That partnership has done more than anything else in my opinion to keep the world safe, stable, prosperous, without a World War, without the nuclear genie coming out of the bottle, and to surmount all the other threats that confronted the world after World War II.

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Europol Prepares for Tough Challenges as EU Enlarges

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The enlargement of the European Union from 15 to 25 members in May 2004 will bring many economic and political benefits, but it will also present major challenges for the European Police Office (Europol), which helps the member states fight organized crime and terrorism. Organized criminal networks are always looking for new opportunities to expand their illegal activities. They are bound to be attracted by the expansion of the EU single market to include 450 million people spread across Western and Eastern Europe, a huge area throughout which people, goods, capital and services will soon be able to move without border controls.

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The EU Wants to Be a "Front Runner" in the United Nations

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John B. RichardsonFollowing the discord in the United Nations over Iraq in 2003, the European Union is actively considering how to strengthen its leadership role in the organization and extend its influence through a wider range of UN activities. The debate currently under way in the EU Council of Ministers and the European Parliament is based on a policy document published by the European Commission in September 2003, The Choice of Multilateralism, which clearly reflects some of the lessons learned from the disagreements over the U.S. decision to invade Iraq. One of the paper's main themes is the European Union's positive experience of collective action among states, both inside and outside the Union, which the Commission believes to be a good way of dealing with problems in an interdependent world.

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