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01 March, 2002
The aim of the European Convention for the future of Europe is the "joint confrontation of the needs of different people, who come from different countries and belong to different cultures," former French president Valery Giscard d'Estaing said on Thursday.
D'Estaing, who is presiding over the Convention, initiated the first session, stressing to the other European Union member and candidate member states' 104 representatives, that this venture can succeed or fail, noting that its aim is to propose to the European Citizens, in a year from now, a unified proposal, which will pave the way to a European Constitution.
"If we succeed, then the role of Europe on the international political stage will change, if we fail then each state will turn to the logic of a Europe that concerns only the market," d'Estaing said, in French, English and German.
Spanish Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar, who holds the current six month term of the rotating European Union presidency, also addressed the initial session of the Convention, saying that the Union is in need of a new operational form, stressing that its enlargement signals the reunification of the European Continent.
The Convention is composed by 87 men and 16 women, who represent the institutions of the 15 EU member states. Greek Prime Minister Costas Simitis is represented by George Katiforis, while the Greek Parliament is represented by deputies Paraskevas Avgerinos and Marianna Giannakou.
The Convention will meet twice a week and will hold two agenda preparation meetings a month.
Source: Athens News Agency