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Denmark says Include All Eastern European Countries in EU

Copenhagen, July 8 (RFE/RL) -- At the request of the Parliament in Copenhagen, the Danish Institute for Foreign Affairs has started preparing a comprehensive study on how to avoid creating new splits in Central and Eastern Europe by taking in new members of the European Union (EU), while leaving others outside.

The study, ordered by almost all political parties in the Folketing, is meant to answer questions such as how not to create a feeling of disillusionment and isolation in those Eastern European countries which clearly cannot fulfil the EU membership conditions in the foreseeable future.

According to Social Democrat MP Ove Fich, Chairman of the Parliamentary European Commission, all Central and European countries plus Malta and Cyprus must come into the EU in an "orderly" and "well-thought" process. Those that do not come in first must be given possibilities to cooperate with Brussels in the areas of education, culture, law and partly foreign policy, says Fich.

No individual countries are mentioned, but while Poland, the Czech Republic and Hungary are apparent favourites in the EU enlargement process, Romania, Bulgaria and, recently, Slovakia do not seem likely to be offered full membership in the first round.

Copenhagen hopes it can take the lead in the enlargement decision-making process with the new study. And our Copenhagen correspondent also reports current political thinking seems to be in contrast with the general perception in Brussels and other Western European capitals, where it has become common to consider the EU enlargement process as one during which individual countries are accepted slowly and cautiously.

In a separate development, it has been revealed that Denmark and the other Scandinavian countries have made public EU internal documentation that had been designed to be confidential. According to press reports, the parliament bookshop in Copenhagen has been selling documents that are used as a basis for discussion in the EU Intergovernmental Conference, which is supposed to prepare a new European Union Treaty. This information can also be easily obtained through the Parliamentary EU News Service. The national representatives in the Intergovernmental Conference have made it clear that no information about ongoing debates should be leaked to the press. However, the three Nordic EU member states, Denmark, Sweden and Finland have systematically published all information regarding the workings of the EU.