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EU: Summit To Focus On Expansion Plans

Gothenburg, Sweden; 15 June 2001 -- Leaders of the European Union meet today at a summit in Gothenburg, Sweden, expected to focus on Eastward expansion. The two-day summit comes after voters in Ireland last week rejected a treaty which paves the way for accepting 12 new members, mostly former communist countries.

Reports say the EU leaders are expected to reassure the candidate countries that expansion is on track despite the Irish vote.

They also are expected to discuss the EU economy, plans to bring the euro -- Europe's single currency -- into common circulation next January and ecologically sustainable development.

U.S. President George W. Bush and Polish President Aleksander Kwasniewski are also to meet today in Poland, where Bush is expected to reiterate his support for the expansion of NATO and the European Union.

Bush will arrive in Warsaw from Gothenburg, Sweden, where he attended an EU-U.S. summit yesterday, at which he said that the further expansion of NATO and the EU will create a Europe "whole and free."

"I strongly believe in NATO expansion and I believe that the EU ought to expand as well. I believe that a Europe, whole and free, is going to be a Europe that trades actively with the United States and with the rest of the world."