A new European Union
in Destination Europe

A series of European Union (EU) summits – Amsterdam in 1997, Berlin and Helsinki in 1999, and Nice in 2000 – focused on the need for inner reform of the institution against the prospect of future enlargement and new competences. The general tendency was for increased intergovernmentalism, that is, more power in the hands of the EU's Council of Ministers and greater influence for the European Parliament. The Helsinki Summit decided to accept candidacies of thirteen countries (including Turkey) and to start negotiations with twelve (all but Turkey) on an equal basis. An EU Convention on the Future of Europe was consequently held in 2002 with a mandate to make proposals to governments for a new EU constitution in 2003. This would be necessary also to prepare for the ‘big bang’ enlargement decided at a summit in Copenhagen in December 2002. Thorny questions remained, however, such as how to reform the Common Agricultural Policy and EU finances overall in order to accommodate the many new and less-wealthy member states.

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Destination Europe

The political and economic growth of a continent

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