And the conclusions coming out of the meeting of the European Council that finished a couple of hours ago are not as bad on the issue of enlargement as there for a while was reason to fear.
As Austrian Chancellor Schuessel said at the press conference, it was decided not to make the bogus concept of ”absorption capacity” into a new criteria for further enlargement.
But it is somewhat vaguely noted in the conclusion that ”the pace of enlargement must take the Union’s absorption capacity into account.” Well, yes, although different people can interpret that in different ways.
It is also said, that the more detailed debate on these subjects that is now scheduled for the December meeting under the Finnish presidency will also look at ”further ways to improve the quality of the enlargement process on the basis of the positive experience so far.”
That doesn’t necessarily hurt.
It was important that one described enlargement in principle as something very good for the Union. It was especially noted that ”enlargement is helping the EU become a more competitive and dynamic economy and be better prepared to meet the challenges of a globalised and changing world.”
So one must note that the enlargement process got through the Austrian presidency largely intact, although there were those trying to twist the entire thing in a far more negative direction.
Now it will be up to the Commission to present a more strategic report on the issue in October as preparation for the renewed discussion at the European summit in December.
So everything turns to Finland.