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EU Commission Vice-President spoke at Oslo conference

Margot Wallström, Vice-President in the EU Commission, was the key speaker at a conference held in Oslo 18 March. Central topics were EU development and challenges facing the Union and Norway.

The Vice-President for Institutional Relations and Communication Strategy spoke about the democratic challenges facing the EU, the future of the Constitution and further EU enlargement. The Constitutional Treaty makes Europe more democratic, more transparent and simpler, Wallström said in her speech. ”Europe is fundamentally about people”, she underlined. Therefore one has to build a Europe that people understand, a democratic Europe in which 455 million citizens have their say.

Future security challenges and the international role of the EU was also included as discussion themes at the conference. The introductory speaker was Jim Cloos, Director from the Council Secretariat of the European Union.

During her visit to Oslo Wallström met with Foreign Minister Jan Petersen, who held the opening speech at the conference. Among other things, Mr Petersen said one is now “undoubtedly witnessing the most extensive and profound integration process in the history of Europe”. He pointed out that at the practical level Norway is participating in many fields, but at the political level Norway has little influence on developments. Co-operation within the EU is affecting Norway to an increasing degree, while at the same time its possibility of influencing it is diminishing as the co-operation within the EU is being widened and deepened, the Foreign Minister noted.

Later on Friday, Margot Wallström further held a lecture at the University of Oslo on the theme: “The People’s Europe – Mission impossible?”

Also at the conference, the Leader of the Parliamentary Foreign Affairs Group and previous Foreign Minister, Thorbjørn Jagland, participated in a panel debate with other Norwegian Foreign Affairs experts.

 

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Vice-President for Institutional Relations and Communication Strategy, Margot Wallström, visited Norway 18 MarchPhoto: © European Community, 2005