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EU: European Leaders Give Mixed Reactions To EU Summit Results

Amsterdam, 18 June 1997 (RFE/RL) -- Leaders across Europe are showing mixed reactions to the overnight passage of an EU reform treaty designed to clear the way for the Union's eastward expansion.

Hungarian Foreign Minister Laszlo Kovacs said the treaty's passage at the EU summit in Amsterdam shows that disagreements among EU leaders over some issues are not sufficient to slow down the expansion process.

German Chancellor Helmut Kohl and French Prime Minister Lionel Jospin both said they are reasonably satisfied with the Summit's outcome.

But Italian Prime Minister Roman Prodi said on his return to Rome that he was disappointed by what he called the final treaty's "timid steps" in reforming the Union.

Passage of the treaty came after the leaders of the Union's 15 states agreed to postpone discussion of key changes in the organization's institutions until the EU actually begins taking in new members.

The final treaty falls short of the ambitious reform agreement the EU leaders hoped to reach going into the two-day Summit Monday. The draft treaty focused on how to reform the EU's institutions, commissions, and council of ministers to accomodate more member nations. Central and Eastern European countries in line for membership talks with the EU are Poland, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Slovenia, Latvia, Estonia, Lithuania, Romania and Bulgaria.

During the summit, the EU leaders agreed on reforms clearing the way for the Union to take on a role in military affairs for the first time. But they stopped short of committing the Union to develop into a full-fledged defence organisation, as some countries had wanted.

The EU leaders also agreed to maintain tight budget deficit requirements on EU member states which join the Union's planned common currency, the 'euro'. France new Socialist government initially objected to the strict limits designed to keep the euro stable. The conflict ended after European leaders agreed to promote employment and economic growth measures.

The EU scheduled another summit for October on job creation.