Committee of Ministers Chairmanship – Malta : November 2002 - May 2003 

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Council of Europe Secretary General welcomes Maltese "Yes" to EU

Strasbourg, 10.03.2003 - Council of Europe Secretary General Walter Schwimmer today welcomed the "Yes" vote in the Maltese referendum on whether the country should join the European Union on 1 May 2004.

"The result of this vote is welcome but not unexpected: Malta is embedded in Europe. The country has been a member of the Council of Europe since 1965 and is currently chairing the Committee of Ministers. We very much hope that the nine other candidate countries - who are already members of our Organisation - will also vote in favour of European Union membership", said Mr Schwimmer.

In this context, Mr Schwimmer underlined that the enlargement of the European Union will also have an impact on relations between the EU and the Council of Europe - the Council will be the ideal forum for the Union's relations with its "new neighbourhood". "A kind of 'associate membership' of the EU in the Council of Europe should be considered", the Secretary General concluded.
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