PUBLIC SECT0R: FCO to promote case for EU enlargement

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office is set to launch a campaign to

promote the case for European Union enlargement.



Rashmi Choudhury has joined the FCO's public diplomacy and policy unit

as media desk officer to drive through the 12-month campaign.



Choudhury takes over from David Whineray, who has joined the FCO news

desk. The post Choudhury takes has been altered to include more media

relations work as well as continuing liaison with the countries aiming

to join the EU.



According to Choudhury, the aim of the campaign is to increase awareness

within the UK of not only the enlargement process but also each country

applying for membership.



In the running to join the EU are 13 countries, including Poland, the

Czech Republic, Turkey and Cyprus.



'We want people to understand how the entry of these countries will

affect them personally and also affect people in those countries.

Business opportunities are an important part of that,' said

Choudhury.



Key media targets for the campaign are the national and regional

business press.



Countries vying for entry should know whether they have been accepted by

the end of 2002, when negotiations for entry are due to finish.



If accepted they should be awarded full membership in the summer of

2004, when they take part in the European Parliamentary elections.



At the European Council's summit in June, members declared the process

of enlargement as 'irreversible'.



Also bidding for membership are Bulgaria, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia,

Lithuania, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia and Malta.



During a visit to Warsaw in 1998, Tony Blair was the first EU leader to

call for new member states to participate in the 2004 European

elections.



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