Richard North, 29/05/2004  

They are not even waiting for the constitution. According to Agence France Press, EU Justice and Home Affairs Commissioner Antonio Vitorino has spoken out at a conference in Lisbon, declaring that the time is right for the European Union to make the establishment of a common security and defence policy a priority.

"Now that the common market has become a reality, that the project of a common currency has been carried out and the eastern enlargement is done, the moment has come to work on security and defence," he said. Work on security and defence "was a prerequisite for any credible deepening of European internal policies," he added, as it was necessary for Europe to "have an effective capacity to affirm itself in the world."

The sentiment bears a remarkable similarity to that expressed in the commission document on "Building a Political Europe". The softening up process has started already. More on this in the Blog later today.

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