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Senior EU official calls for hold on expansion after constitution debacle

[JURIST] A senior European Union official called for a break in EU expansion Monday, addressing the media days before EU leaders will meet to discuss fallout from rejections of the EU Constitution in France [JURIST report] and the Netherlands [JURIST report]. EU External Relations Commissioner Benita Ferrero-Waldner [official website] stated that people needed time to "digest" the bloc's largest expansion, the addition of 10 countries in 2004. The comments have been interpreted as most immediately addressing Turkey's membership bid, scheduled to open negotiations in October [JURIST report]. Romania and Bulgaria are also scheduled to join in 2007, with several states in the Western Balkans and possibly Ukraine and Georgia attempting accession as well. Observers of the failed referenda in France and Holland have suggested that voters in both countries were hesitant about the EU constitution in part because of fears that their economies or populations would be hurt by an influx of goods or people from less well-off eastern European states. AP has more.

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