Berlusconi says Italy has abandoned its pro-EU approach

Italy’s Prime Minister, Mr Silvio Berlusconi, admitted Italy’s centre-right government had abandoned its pro-EU approach. Instead, he said in an interview with the Financial Times, Italy would pursue “limited shared sovereignty in the EU, an economy based on liberal free market principles and the country’s national interest”.

Mr Berlusconi stated that "Italy would seek to be a broker between different viewpoints on the EU's future structure", adding that "we must find a compromise in the way we govern Europe, taking into account that there are two systems, one inter-governmental and one more communitaire". Mr Berlusconi said he had a "clear understanding" with Mr Tony Blair and Mr Mr José María Aznar, the respective leaders of the UK and Spain, on the future of the EU. An adviser to Mr Berlusconi said "It's good if there's an open debate on Europe as it's an enrichment not a quarrel. We differ in the ways we are committed to Europe". He said he had received strong backing for this idea from several EU figures.

Mr Berlusconi also said he strongly believed that EU nations should cede sovereignty over foreign and defence policy to a new EU body, adding that "it would have been far better if Mr Javier Solana, EU High Representative, had represented us all when talking to George W. Bush after 11 September" he said.



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