Rice says US 'supports European project'

3rd May 2005, Comments 0 comments

WASHINGTON, May 2 (AFP) - US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said Monday that a strong Europe would be good for transatlantic relations but declined to comment on looming votes in several countries on a constitution for the European Union.

WASHINGTON, May 2 (AFP) - US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said Monday that a strong Europe would be good for transatlantic relations but declined to comment on looming votes in several countries on a constitution for the European Union.  

Rice made the comments following talks with the Michel Barnier, the foreign minister of France, where there are doubts about whether the public will back the constitution in a referendum on May 29.  

"I don't have a vote and so it doesn't matter," Rice said when asked about the constitution referendums at a press conference.  

"But let me just say that the United States has been, from the very beginning, supportive of European integration, going all the way back to the Coal and Steel Community. And the United States remains supportive of the European project."  

She added: "We believe that a united Europe, a Europe that is strong and capable, a Europe that is clearly, at its core, democratic and that has a long tradition and heritage with the United States, can only be good for the forward march of progress and democracy in the world.  

"And so we want to see the European project succeed, because a strong Europe will be good for the forces of democracy. We would hope that a strong Europe would be outward looking, that it would continue to bring, as it has, new members.  

"It has been an important magnet for the East Europeans. I think it continues to be an important set of incentives for countries that are still in the transition to democracy."   Rice said that NATO and the European Union form "the two pillars of a Europe whole, free and at peace."  

Barnier said that European was facing a "moment of truth" with its debate on the European constitution.  

"It is the debate that we are having in Europe which interests the United States, because with the global stakes that we face, we must build collective answers, and Europeans must be organised and able to give their own answers," Barnier told the press conference.

 

© AFP

Subject: French News

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