Staff Reporter THE Balearic European Centre (CBE) is gearing up this year for a major push towards internationalisation of the Islands' businesses. According to the director of the CBE, Fernando de Francisco, competitive strategy will place special emphasis on some of the Eastern European countries which are shortly to become members of the European Union Last November, the CBE backed a commercial meeting which took place between companies from the Balearics and Eastern Europe, which de Francisco reported produced “very good results”. It is hoped that the meeting can be repeated this coming May in the Greek city of Thessaloniki, with the participation of businessmen who are soon to form part of the European Union, from countries such as Hungary, Poland, Czechoslovakia, Estonia, Letonia, Lithuania, Cyprus and Malta. Sectors that will have the greatest “trading potential” in the countries of Eastern Europe belong to the textile industry, shoes, furniture, computing, construction and tourism. In fact, various hotel companies, such as the Barceló and Sol Meliá hotel groups, have already established outlets in these countries. De Francisco emphasized the importance of the integration of 10 new member States in the European Union as of 1 May this year, as it will help to consolidate a greater depth of political and social understanding in a Federation that will encompass some 550 million people. “Without doubt, this amalgamation can only favour the building of the Europe of the future because the more there are of us, the stronger we shall be”, he affirmed. De Francisco foresaw the inclusion of Croatia and Bosnia in the Union within a period of no longer than 10 years. On the subject of the United Kingdom opting to join the Euro currency, the director of the CBE believes that “if the British want to keep their economy afloat after continued devaluation of their own currency”, it is “only a question of a couple of years” before this (joining the Euro) comes about. Developing this theme, De Francisco pointed to the milestone that will be passed on 1 June this year which is when the European elections will be held, when 25 countries will be represented in the European Parliament. “It's an opportunity to improve the quality of life of people living in Europe. It also provides a platform to encourage people to think internationally, instead of along lines of purely parochial or national interest.