Verhofstadt slams meeting
Belgian Prime Minister Guy Verhofstadt has criticised decision of the four largest EU members to hold a meeting on the European Union's financesThe Belgian Prime Minister Guy Verhofstadt (Flemish liberal) has criticised the decision of the four largest EU members to hold a meeting on the European Union's finances later this month.
Germany, The United Kingdom, France and Italy are to meet in London on 29 January to discuss the financial challenges facing the European Union.
Mr Verhofstadt used a speech at the festivities to celebrate Malta joining the eurozone to hit out at the big four's decision to hold a separate meeting.
The British Prime Minister Gordon Brown has denied that the meeting is a way of by-passing Brussels and has made assurances that the European Commission President Manuel Barroso will be kept informed at all times.
However, Mr Verhofstadt says that matters relating to EU finances should be discussed by the members of the eurozone (of which the U.K. is not) and at full meetings of all the EU member states.
"Europe isn't just for the big boys, but for all of its citizens, member states and populations, however small".
He added that news of the meeting had created concern among the smaller EU member states.