Prodi says EU states attempting power grab

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The Independent Online

Romano Prodi, the European Commission president, attacked the role of the EU's foreign affairs supremo yesterday and warned against an anti-democratic power grab by national governments.

Romano Prodi, the European Commission president, attacked the role of the EU's foreign affairs supremo yesterday and warned against an anti-democratic power grab by national governments.

There was a "disturbing" tendency to bypass the Commission, which risked turning Europe into a talking shop or an unaccountable government of bureaucrats, Mr Prodi said.

His comments to the European Parliament were a direct riposte to Jacques Chirac, the French President, who has called for a new hard core of countries to forge closer co-operation.

At the end of the week, Tony Blair is to make a speech in Warsaw in which he is expected to promote closer government-to-government co-operation in Europe.

Mr Prodi's remarks were explosive in Brussels because of the demand that the EU's defence and security policy should be controlled by the Commission - something opposed by many member states.

While the Commission president praised the "commitment" of Javier Solana, the EU's foreign policy high representative, he said the present situation "is not sustainable in the long term. The function of the high representative should be integrated into the Commission."

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