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Italy won't back truncated EU treaty

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Italy won't back truncated EU treaty

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If the EU countries cannot agree a high-standard compromise over a common constitutional treaty, Italy would prefer a two-speed Europe. Prime Minister Romano Prodi, at a debate in the European Parliament, has reiterated his argument that it might be best for the more integrationist states to move forward without the others.

The former European Commission President underscored that Italy is among the majority that has ratified the charter. Prodi said: “I believe in not necessarily moving forward together at the same speed. I’d like that, and I’ll do my part to bring it about. But I realise it is not always possible.”

This comes as support for a pared-down EU treaty is on the rise — one to replace the text rejected by French and Dutch citizens in 2005. Others also favour a simplified common text, for ratification by 2009. In the context of Berlin’s attempts to save the draft EU charter, Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen made clear Denmark’s feeling, saying: “Instead of a constitutional treaty, I think a way forward could be a shorter treaty, simply amending the existing treaties – an amendment in which we should focus on the core elements, to make sure a European Union of 27 can work efficiently.”

The European Parliament’s constitutional affairs committee passed a resolution saying it would not accept a result which backtracked on citizens’ rights.