Sunday, November 25, 2001

Cannabis still Europe’s favorite drug
LISBON Cannabis remains the most commonly used illicit drug in the European Union, with at least one in 10 adults in the 15-nation group having used it, according to a report published Tuesday.
The Lisbon-based European Monitoring Center for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA) said in its annual report for 2001 that the use of amphetamines, ecstasy, cocaine and heroin was far less common in the European Union than that of cannabis. However, heroin accounted for a high level of health, legal and social problems.
The EMCDDA said the proportion of adults who had used cannabis ranged from 10 percent in Finland to 20 percent to 25 percent in Denmark, France, Ireland, the Netherlands, Spain and the United Kingdom.

Blair supports integration with Europe
LONDON Britain must accept that its future lies with Europe, Prime Minister Tony Blair said Friday in a speech regarded as a firm signal of his government’s intention to join the European Union’s new common currency.
Britain traditionally has been wary of transferring too much power to EU institutions, and it refused to join in adopting the euro, the single currency that goes into use Jan. 1 in 12 of EU’s 15 member countries.
But in one of his most forcefully pro-Europe speeches, Mr. Blair told the European Research Institute in Birmingham, England, that Britain had been damaged by a “history of missed opportunities” in Europe and must now forge closer ties with its European allies.

EU lowers forecast for 2002 growth
BRUSSELS Citing “a worldwide feeling of insecurity” after the September 11 terror attacks, the European Union on Wednesday forecast growth in 2002 of only 1.3 percent in the 12 nations that will bring the euro into common circulation on Jan. 1.
The forecast was well below the European Union’s prediction of 3 percent that was made only last spring.

Central Europe leaders end Trieste talks
TRIESTE, Italy Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi said Friday that the European Union should stretch its borders to include Russia.
His remarks came as Mr. Berlusconi and 16 other leaders from Central European countries wrapped up Central European Initiative (CEI) talks in Trieste, a northeastern Italian port city.
“Europe should not [only] be enlarged, but reconstituted, and heal the wound of communism, which for a half-century kept many countries behind the Iron Curtain,” Mr. Berlusconi, the summit host, said in a press conference. “I believe in some years we’ll have a Europe that includes the RussianFederation.”
The CEI includes two EU members, Italy and Austria, plus Bosnia, Macedonia, Croatia, Yugoslavia, Albania, Belarus, Bulgaria, Moldova, Poland, the Czech Republic, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Ukraine and Hungary.

Cyber-crime treaty not “Big Brother”
BUDAPEST A European treaty to combat the growing menace of cyber-crime will give law enforcers broad international reach but will not be a “Big Brother” type agency, the Council of Europe (CoE) said Friday.
“Contrary to what has been said in certain circles, we are not going to set up a ‘Big Brother’,” Guy de Vel, CoE’s legal affairs director, said at a news conference after 30 countries signed the new convention in Hungary’s parliament.
Nominally a European treaty, the first international cybercrime convention, which took four years to draft, was also signed by South Africa, Canada, the United States and Japan.

Europe’s expansion to fight crime, terror
VIENNA The enlargement of the European Union and NATO is the best protection against organized crime and terrorism, Polish President Alexander Kwasniewski said Wednesday.
“The enlargement of the EU and NATO are the most effective way to maintain the joint values of Europe,” said Mr. Kwasniewski, whose country is by far the biggest EU candidate state, during a visit to Austria.

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