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Archive for Sunday, June 23, 2002

European leaders wrap up summit

June 23, 2002

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— European Union leaders wrapped up a two-day summit Saturday by agreeing to measures aimed at deterring illegal immigration.

French President Jacques Chirac prevailed over his colleagues from Britain, Spain and Italy in toning down the language on illegal immigration. British Prime Minister Tony Blair wanted language threatening economic sanctions against countries that failed to stem the flow of immigrants from their territory.

France, backed by Sweden, was concerned about its relations with former colonies, such as Algeria and Morocco, being affected by a hard-line EU stance. Those two countries are a major source of illegal migrants to Europe.

"You are not going to solve problems by brandishing a sword, especially a wooden one," Chirac said.

Chirac also blocked a German and British initiative to allow some decisions at EU summits to be reached by majority vote. Currently, any member state can veto an EU rule, and France has used its veto to stop the deregulation of its energy market.

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