(10 February 2010) – The six founding members of the European Union yesterday reiterated their commitment to “ever closer union”, even it means leaving less enthusiastic partners like Britain behind.
At informal talks in Rome, the foreign ministers of Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Luxembourg and the Netherlands issued a joint communiqué in which they admitted to being “concerned about the state of the European project”.
“We firmly believe that the European Union remains the best answer we have for today’s challenges and allows for different paths of integration,” the communiqué reads. “We remain resolved to continue the process of creating an ever closer union among the people of Europe.”
Tuesday’s dinner meeting was called by Italy, whose centre-left government has made it clear it wants a core of EU countries to forge ahead with steps towards further integration, with moves towards a banking union, tighter fiscal harmonisation and increased political and security cooperation the areas where they see change as most desirable.
Italy meanwhile will ask its citizens how they want to see the EU develop via an online consultation to be launched on 12 February, parliamentary speaker Laura Boldrini announced earlier on Tuesday. The six-question survey will seek to establish what Italians see as the EU’s strengths and weaknesses, the areas in which it could do more, how it could be more efficient and how to reform its institutions. (EurActiv)