In Bruges, Belgium, a symposium organised by the European Commission to consider enlarging the European Economic Community opened on Thursday (16 March).
In Bruges, Belgium, a symposium organised by the European Commission to consider enlarging the European Economic Community opened on Thursday (16 March). The nine-nation Common Market in considering the inclusion of Greece, Portugal and Spain.
SYNOPSIS: The week-long symposium is being held at the College of Europe. Among those attending were ministers-from the three nations who have applied to join the Common Market: Greece, Spain and Portugal.
The symposium was opened by Vice-President of the European Commission, Signor Lorenzo Natali. He told the delegates that the process of enlarging the Community was already well under way. Negotiations with the first applicant, Greece, are on the last lap and procedures are proceeding for the entry of Portugal and Spain. The Commission's views on Portugal's entry are expected to be ready in April, and for Spain, by the beginning of next year.
Signor Natali said that there was a firm belief in the present nine member nations of the Community that the three applicant nations must be able to join the Community as soon as possible. He also said that, in talks with representatives from these countries, he found there was almost unanimous public support for membership.
He said the danger in enlargement stemmed now from the precarious economic situation and the internal, institutional weaknesses of the community. It was the Commission's role to indicate what the Community and applicants had to do to ensure these problems did not become serious hazards to a smooth entry. This, he said, was what the symposium would have to consider.