Britain did 'very little' in EU presidency

22nd September 2005, Comments 0 comments

LONDON, Sept 22 (AFP) - Britain has thus far achieved "very little" with its six-month tenure at the rotating EU presidency, former French president Valéry Giscard d'Estaing said Thursday, arguing for the bloc's executive system to be reformed.

LONDON, Sept 22 (AFP) - Britain has thus far achieved "very little" with its six-month tenure at the rotating EU presidency, former French president Valéry Giscard d'Estaing said Thursday, arguing for the bloc's executive system to be reformed.

Giscard d'Estaing is a strong proponent of the European Union's constitution, rejected by France's voters in a referendum in May, which proposed the idea of an individual European Council president elected every two and a half years to replace the current method.

This was a far better system, Giscard d'Estaing told BBC radio.

"At the end of September, what is the contribution of the British presidency up to now? Practically very little," Giscard d'Estaing said.

"Why? Because you had other problems," he argued, referring to the London bombings in July, just days after Prime Minister Tony Blair's government assumed the presidency.

"Next time Britain will have the EU presidency according to the existing system is in 13 and a half years, do you think it is sensible? Where there is a rotating presidency every six months, nothing happens," said Giscard d'Estaing.

Giscard d'Estaing added: "If we had a president of the council, Mr Blair would have devoted his energy and activities to the British problems of the time and the European president would have prepared what we have to do..."

France's voters would most likely approve the constitution in two years' time, Giscard d'Estaing predicted.

"The debate cannot be fully reopened in France before the next general election we have in spring of 2007, so we have to think about it, to give arguments, to explain issues to people, but to wait, and after there will be a new presentation and I think an approval," Giscard d'Estaing said.

Copyright AFP

Subject: French news

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