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EU Constitution to end UK embassies – Zapatero

18 February 2005

MADRID-All of Britain’s 153 embassies across the globe will be shut if the European constitution is adopted, Spain’s Prime minister warned.

They would be replaced by European missions answerable to Brussels, British newspapers reported.

Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero told a Spanish radio station:  “We will undoubtedly see European embassies in the world, not ones from each country, with European diplomats and a European foreign service.”

Britain and France would also lose their voices in NATO and their seats on the UN Security Council, said Zapatero.

He added: “We will see Europe with a single voice in security matters. We will have a single European voice within NATO. We want more European unity.”

Zapatero’s views appeared to contradict claims made by British premier Tony Blair that Britain would  keep its power to act alone.

And it fuelled fears that Britain would have to follow EU policy even if the British government disagrees with Germany and France — as it did over Iraq.

Spaniards are expected to back the new EU constitution in a referendum on Sunday as their country has received billions of euros in subsidies from Brussels.

The new European Constitution states: “Member States shall actively and unreservedly support the Union’s common foreign and security policy.”

But the British Foreign Office played down Zapatero’s claims.

A spokesman said: “Britain will keep its embassies, its seat in NATO and its foreign policy. That cannot change without our agreement.”

[Copyright Expatica]

Subject: Spanish news