Include non-eurozone members in decisions: Barroso

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European Commission chief Jose Manuel Barroso urged eurozone countries fighting to shore up the common currency to keep European partners that do not use the euro involved in making key decisions.

Barroso said in an interview published Friday in Germany's daily Sueddeutsche Zeitung that the 17 eurozone countries and the remaining 10 European Union members must coordinate for the sake of all their economies.

"The eurozone countries must work more closely together and coordinate better," Barroso said.

"(But) we must prevent a rift developing between the two groups because otherwise it would lose a key foundation," he said, in remarks published in German.

East European EU members that are not yet members of the eurozone have been clamouring for inclusion in the ongoing debate on reform of the crisis-wracked monetary union which they hope to one day join.

Stressing the need for coordination across the EU, Barroso reasserted the importance of the European Commission, the EU's executive arm, which he said was the "natural representative" of the whole bloc's interests.

France and Germany have called for a eurozone economic government spearheaded by the states, a notion Barroso flatly rejected in a speech to European Parliament deputies Wednesday.

"It is illusory to believe that policy details in the euro area can be managed in two meetings of heads of government each year," he said.

"This is not about giving the Commission more power for power's sake but because I am convinced that Europe can only work with its institutions, not against them."

© 2011 AFP

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