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European Union: Enlargement Will Not Create A New Dividing Line

Crans-Montana, Switzerland; 26 June 1998 (RFE/RL) -- European Commission President Jacques Santer today sought to assure first-wave European Union (EU) candidates and aspiring EU member states that European integration will not create a new "dividing line" in Europe. Santer expressed concern, however, over what he said was a certain lack of enthusiasm for the enlargement process by some members and candidates.

Addressing a plenary session on the second day of the Crans-Montana forum in Switzerland, Santer said EU enlargement represents the best chance for Europe to fashion a comprehensive unity.

Czech Prime Minister Josef Tosovsky, whose country is viewed as an EU frontrunner, said individual country competitiveness is the most daunting task facing candidates.

"An open door means chances, not automatic success," he said.

The president of Romania's senate, Petre Roman, appealed to the EU to strongly consider Romania when it makes its second round membership choices. A similar appeal was lodged by Lithuanian Prime Minister Gediminas Vagnorius. Neither country was included in the first wave of negotiations, but both have received promises for future consideration.