Interview: ‘Two-speed Europe means more choices’

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With formal discussions on a new EU ‘Reform Treaty’ launched this week, Italian Prime Minister Romano Prodi says he is favourable to a two-speed Europe in order to prevent the less euro-enthusiast from setting the pace. He spoke to EURACTIV Slovakia about his desire for a stronger Union.

A former Commission President and a staunch pro-European, Romano Prodi knows that EU integration often means going for the lowest common denominator as unanimity is the rule when it comes to Treaty changes.

This is probably why he says he can live with the June Summit agreement to reform the current EU treaties, saying it is “the best compromise we could get”.

“Such a decision is always a compromise. My view of Europe was certainly stronger, but it is a good compromise. It brings stronger institutions, for example through a permanent presidency, and strengthens the common foreign policy, it introduces a common diplomatic service, establishes a legal personality of the Union and, even more important, it diminishes the veto right, which is the enemy of a stronger European Union.”

With Poland and the UK singled out as trouble-makers at the June Summit, the question of a multi-speed Europe again came to the fore. And on this point, Prodi is uncompromising, saying that “you cannot go at the speed of the last wagon.”

“We already have a two-speed Europe. Euro and Schengen are examples of this and they are very important projects. Moreover, a two-speed Europe does not mean that countries that are in the second group cannot move to the first. Two-speed Europe sometimes means more choices.”

To read the full interview please click here.

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