France questions EU multi-track approach

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The Independent Online
LISBON - France stressed its opposition yesterday to the creation of a 'hard core' within the European Union (EU), but said states that wanted to advance more rapidly towards goals such as monetary union should be able to do so. 'Within a common base, there can be greater solidarity among states which want to do more and do it more quickly - for instance, on the level of economic and monetary union,' said the Foreign Minister, Alain Juppe.

'But there must be a common base which unites all states on certain levels - on foreign policy for example,' he said on a visit to Portugal. 'Because of this, we are against a hostile hard core which is open to certain members and not to others,' Mr Juppe said. Germany's ruling Christian Democrat party provoked fierce criticism from Portugal and other EU states earlier this month by proposing an inner group of EU members led by France and Germany. Reuter