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Last Updated: Saturday, 16 December 2006, 14:36 GMT
Press sums up EU summit
European Union headquarters on the eve of a EU summit in Brussels
A bit crowded: can the EU afford to get any bigger?

Papers across Europe reflect on the main themes covered by the EU's end-of-year summit in Brussels.

The German and Spanish press draw attention to the fact that EU leaders had adopted a new policy on immigration, while the issue of "enlargement fatigue" is taken up by editorials throughout the continent.

Several Turkish papers question whether the EU is genuinely interested in having Turkey as a member.

And finally, Austria's Die Presse questions whether anything was in fact achieved by the summit.

Germany's Die Welt

The EU has finally defined immigration policy as a community task. Immigration is no longer an aberration, but the norm. A normal state of affairs, certainly, but one that has to be controlled... So, "Fortress Europe"? No sign of that.

Germany's Frankfurter Rundschau

The EU has now gone at least some way towards tackling the problem of migration... There is no longer a pretence that mastering the global contradictions between rich and poor countries is a police task. What is now emerging is an attempt to bundle international migration and development questions in one concept.

Spain's ABC

The European Council's decision to adopt a "global policy" on immigration greatly pleased Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero yesterday, to the point where he told journalists at the end of the meeting that it had been one of the most satisfactory he had attended.

Spain's El Pais

The 25 have decided to make an indefinite pause in the enlargement of the EU, at least until they resolve their internal institutional problems... Internally, the question of what to do with the European Constitution and the institutional reform which is involved and which is essential with or without enlargement will not begin to be settled until the French presidential and legislative elections in the spring of 2007 are over.

France's La Montagne

Aware of their current limitations, the 25 are dragging their feet on enlargement. For them to admit new countries before putting in place rules enabling the EU to operate harmoniously means taking a big risk. Since they failed to do this before the 2005 "big bang", they are today close to paralysis. So while Bulgaria and Romania will be allowed into the club on 1 January, the other candidates pushing to get in will have to wait, starting with Turkey whose membership seems increasingly problematic.

France's L'Yonne Republicaine

The summit... showed the extent of the stalemate in which the EU finds itself. Badly shaken by the French and Dutch rejection of the Constitution, Europe is also at an impasse on the issue of enlargement... Europe's leaders are now trying to delay the entry of new countries... The freeze on negotiations with Turkey, which was decided on in Brussels because of a lack of effort by Ankara, will serve as a warning to other candidates.

Austria's Der Standard

We all urgently need a strong European Parliament and a strong EU Commission, and why not also a powerful, elected EU government? If Europe does not function, citizens will suffer as a result... Who knows? Perhaps 2007 will be the year of "stateswomen" if Segolene Royal moves to the top as president of France and Merkel brings the overdue EU reforms on their way.

Czech Republic's Pravo

The EU has put the brakes on further expansion. It has chronic problems with its own identity, and countries that don't yet have candidate status will therefore be forced to wait for their invitation into the EU.

Czech Republic's Lidove Noviny

In 2004, the number of countries in the EU increased almost twofold; in two weeks, Bulgaria and Romania will become members of the European club. It looks however as if this last wave of enlargement will indeed be one of the last for the time being. The majority of member states are already tired of expansion. Moreover, in their opinion, before any more newcomers are welcomed, there needs to be a reform of the EU's institutions and a resolution of the situation surrounding the EU constitution.

Croatia's Novi List

Over the past year, the EU has been in the throes of a crisis, and not only an institutional one. Today's Europe does not know where its borders are and, despite the years of successful growth, it now talks of enlargement fatigue and is hesitating to continue this trend.

Turkey's Posta

The EU has to make a decision on Turkey. Does it really want to negotiate with Turkey? Will it accept Turkey as a full member if it fulfils the Copenhagen Criteria?

Turkey's Yeni Safak

As long as Turkey refuses to solve the Cyprus issue, this plays into the hands of those EU members who are opposed to Turkish membership.

Austria's Die Presse

Who needs an event where the fact that ultimately zilch was achieved is seen as a success?

BBC Monitoring selects and translates news from radio, television, press, news agencies and the internet from 150 countries in more than 70 languages. It is based in Caversham, UK, and has several bureaux abroad.




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