EU institutions must be stronger in treaty change: Barroso

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European Union institutions must emerge stronger from treaty changes to address the eurozone crisis, European Commission chief Jose Manuel Barroso said Thursday ahead of a key EU summit.

"We must be open to revising the treaty if our member states can guarantee that they are able to approve and have modifications ratified," Barroso told a gathering of conservative leaders in Marseille just hours before the summit.

"To revise a treaty is always a complicated thing... We can support this effort if it is truly necessary to go further," he said.

"In the revision of the treaty it is essential to guarantee the role of the European Commission, the European Central Bank, the European Court of Justice and the European parliament," he said.

"A stronger Europe is a Europe that needs stronger institutions," he said.

He said treaty changes should not "create new divisions between us" but "reinforce our union with respect for our communal institutions."

"I believe that under these conditions we can find a consensus tonight and tomorrow morning," he said.

At the summit opening later on Thursday, EU leaders will begin what is widely described as the last chance effort to save the eurozone from its debt crisis. They will examine a Franco-German plan to amend EU treaties to impose tough budget discipline and streamline decision-making.

© 2011 AFP

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