Eastern members oppose 'multi-speed' EU

"We do not agree for there to be any divisions in the EU and we never will," Poland's Prime Minister Beata Szydlo told journalists in Warsaw at a joint press conference with her Czech, Hungarian and Slovak counterparts.

Eastern members oppose 'multi-speed' EU

World Bulletin / News Desk

Prime ministers from four eastern EU members on Thursday rejected a future "multi-speed" bloc and demanded Brussels have an agreement on its post-Brexit future hammered out before a key summit in Rome later this month.

"We don't want more or less Europe, we want a better Europe," she added.

EU powerhouse members Germany and France have voiced support for the "multi-speed" option, saying it would allow some members to move forward with projects like closer defence cooperation without waiting for reluctant countries to get on board.

The four eastern EU partners cooperating in the so-called Visegrad group said in a joint statement that "any form of enhanced cooperation should be open to every member state and should strictly avoid any kind of disintegration of the single market, the Schengen (visa free travel) area and the European Union itself."

Szydlo also said the four leaders "expect European Council head Donald Tusk to agree proposals about EU reforms earlier, so that we'll meet in Rome just to jointly announce a plan for Europe."

Slovakia's Prime Minister Robert Fico warned that "preparations for the Rome summit, which is very important for the future of the European Union, are pathetic.

"Rather than being a vision of the future of Europe it (the Rome summit) may become a gathering touting individual national interests and today this won't help anyone, it can only harm us," he said.

European Commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker on Wednesday laid out five possible scenarios for the EU after Britain leaves.

They include reducing the European Union to just a single market, returning some powers to member countries and creating a "multi-speed" Europe.

EU leaders will now consider Juncker's options ahead of a summit in Rome on March 25 marking the bloc's 60th anniversary, where they will make their own declarations about the way forward after Britain's expected departure in 2019.

Güncelleme Tarihi: 02 Mart 2017, 16:58