Expatica news

Spanish ministerbacks bigger EU

28 November 2003

MADRID – A bigger European Union will bring greater economic stability, a Spanish government minister claimed on Friday.

Jaime Montalvo, president of Spain’s Economic and Social Council, said the forthcoming enlargement of the EU “will encourage European stability and provide a solid foundation in democratic values, with social and cultural rights for everyone”.

He added that the addition of ten more countries next year will offer “solid perspectives for sustainable growth”.

Montalvo was speaking at a meeting in the Spanish capital of EU economics ministers.

The meeting was attended for the first time by representives of the countries which will join the EU in May 2004 and other member nations.

The EU will increase in size from 15 to 25 nations when ten new countries join.

However, in his keynote speech, Montalvo added that the possible risks involved in a process “of this magnitude” could affect “regional and social cohesion”.

He said this could also change the continent’s “migration of human, commercial and capital resources”.

But Montalvo said problems of this kind could be avoided by introducing the necessary reforms and achieving a high level of consensus among social agencies.

His comments came as EU foreign ministers began a two-day meeting in Naples to try to reduce differences over a new draft constituion.

The European Commission has warned of the risk of failure unless the 15 existing member states make compromises.

On Thursday, the UK Foreign Secretary Jack Straw threatened to stop the draft constitution if states were to lose their veto over foreign policy.

The new EU constitution is designed to bring it closer to citizens and to streamline decision-making in the future when there is a union of 25 nations.

[Copyright EFE with Expatica ]

Subject: Spanish news