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Italy slams EU ‘big three dictatorship’

ROME, Feb 3 (AFP) – Italy on Tuesday described a forthcoming summit of the three other EU heavyweights – Germany, France and Britain – as an attempt to impose a directorship on the European Union and said it would have boycotted the meeting if invited.

“Even if we had been invited we would have said no because we cannot accept initiatives which put members in a position of being dictated to,” Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini said.

German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder, French President Jacques Chirac and British Prime Minister Tony Blair are scheduled to meet in Berlin on February 18 for what a German spokesman said would be a discussion of “social security, labour market and innovative policy reforms”.

The three countries, together with Italy, are all members of the Group of Seven most powerful industrialised nations.

A British government spokesman said last week that the Berlin summit would also discuss the controversial draft EU constitution. An summit in December 2003 of the EU’s current 15 members and 10 incoming ones ended in disagreement over the treaty, which is designed to streamline EU decision making for when the bloc expands in May from 15 to 25 nations.

“I doubt that France, Germany and Britain will be able to resolve their differences over questions on which they have such varying opinions in one day, however intense,” Frattini said.


                                                              Subject: France news