Prodi presses for reduction in vetoes

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Series Details Vol.7, No.45, 6.12.01, p2
Publication Date 06/12/2001
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Date: 06/12/01

By David Cronin

EUROPEAN Commission chief Romano Prodi yesterday (5 December) urged a reduction in national vetoes over key EU decisions, reviving a contentious issue which was partly blamed for turning last year's Nice summit into a shambles.

Unveiling proposals for the 'future of Europe' discussions due to take place at Belgium's royal palace of Laeken next weekend (14-15 December), Prodi cited the Council of Ministers' current dependence on unanimity as something which could paralyse the Union when it expands.

"We need a greater use of qualified majority voting because otherwise a 27-member Union simply will not be able to function," he said.

"Anyone with common sense can see that if you have 25 to 30 member states, it's impossible to get decisions by unanimity."

Regional Commissioner Michel Barnier advocated that the Convention due to be set up at Laeken for preparing the next round of changes to the EU's treaties should have a wide mandate and encourage lively debate.

"The Convention bears the responsibility for showing that the European Union can restructure itself," he said. "While it will be worthwhile to search for a consensus, the Convention must also highlight dominant trends and more isolated positions. There is no need for a watered-down consensus."

European Commission President Romano Prodi has urged a reduction in national vetoes over key EU decisions.

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