Stop EU expansion, parliament chief says after Ireland vote

June 14th, 2008 - 10:15 pm ICT by IANS  

Berlin, June 14 (DPA) In the light of the Irish vote against a new European Union (EU) treaty, the EU should suspend its expansion, the president of the European Parliament, Hans-Gert Poettering, has told a German newspaper. In remarks to appear Sunday in the paper Bild am Sonntag, the German said: “The Irish ‘no’ has pitched the European Union into crisis.” He also suggested the result might be a two-speed union.

“As long as the reform treaty is not in force, there cannot be any new accessions to the EU, perhaps with the exception of Croatia,” said Poettering, referring to negotiations with potential new members in the east and south-east.

“We need to have a debate about the future of the EU. The idea of a two-speed Europe, in which a core group of members, advance before the others, will play a role. I would however prefer that all the countries in the EU move to a shared future.”

The politician, who is speaker of the parliament, also said it was vital to push through the reforms before the next June 2009 European Parliament elections.

In separate remarks Saturday on NDR radio in Germany, Poettering predicted the reforms would succeed in the end, saying there had always been “ups and downs” on the road to European unity.

“We have to try to keep cool and resolutely find a solution,” he said.

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