segunda-feira, 6 de março de 2017

França, Alemanha, Itália e Espanha defendem União Europeia a várias velocidades / In Versailles, EU’s big 4 back multispeed Europe

França, Alemanha, Itália e Espanha defendem União Europeia a várias velocidades

Os líderes francês, alemão, espanhol e italiano defenderam hoje, depois de um encontro em Versalhes, perto de Paris, uma Europa a várias velocidades, que permita que os Estados-membros da União Europeia avancem mais rapidamente que outros.

06 de março de 2017 às 20:38

"A unidade não é a uniformidade", disse François Hollande, depois do encontro com a chanceler alemã, Angela Merkel, e os primeiros-ministros espanhol, Mariano Rajoy, e italiano, Paolo Gentiloni.
Numa declaração conjunta, François Hollande disse que defende "novas formas de cooperação, para novos projectos", ou seja, uma "cooperação diferenciada".
Com a cooperação diferenciada, segundo François Hollande, "alguns países" podem "ir mais rápido" em "áreas como a defesa, euro ou através do aprofundamento da união económica e monetária, como a harmonização fiscal e social, ou na cultura e juventude".
Para Angela Merkel, os europeus devem "ter a coragem de aceitar de que alguns países possam ir mais rápido do que outros", sem fechar as possibilidades para os que estão mais atrasados.
"Mas precisamos de avançar", insistiu.
O líder italiano defendeu mais integração europeia, mas "com diferentes níveis de integração".
O primeiro-ministro espanhol também defendeu uma União Europeia a várias velocidades, sublinhando que Espanha quer "ir mais longe" na integração.

In Versailles, EU’s big 4 back multispeed Europe
Leaders of Germany, France, Italy and Spain call for greater integration — at your own pace.

By MAÏA DE LA BAUME AND DAVID M. HERSZENHORN 3/6/17, 10:00 PM CET Updated 3/6/17, 10:47 PM CET

Call them the Formidable 4.

With Britain’s departure looming, the leaders of the four largest remaining EU powers — Germany, France, Italy and Spain — met in Versailles Monday and endorsed the concept of a multispeed Europe, in which members of the bloc would pursue greater integration but at each country’s own chosen pace
The gathering of German Chancellor Angela Merkel, French President François Hollande, Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni and Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy was a notable, if symbolic, show of muscle and solidarity by the four wealthiest and most populous EU countries, and signaled their resolve in forming a unified core of continental continuity after Brexit.

The EU is a club that enjoys breaking down into cliques, at times overlapping mini-coalitions based on shared geography or interests. There is the Visegrad Group of emerging Central European powers — Poland, Hungary, Slovakia and the Czech Republic. There is the so-called Club Med, often led by Greece, of sunnier southern nations. There are the tiny Baltics who share much in common, especially a keen wariness on Russia. And there is the Nordic Council, cool-tempered in climate and demeanor (whose members include non-EU Norway and Iceland).

But rarely have the EU’s major powers felt a need to flaunt their weight, with their combined manufacturing prowess, military might and dominance of the financial sector typically speaking for itself. Brexit, and an alarming wave of Euroskeptic populism, seems to have changed that. But they have done so at other moments of perceived crisis, such as in 2012 when the same four nations announced a €130 billion growth program to pull Europe out of a debt crisis that was putting the euro at risk.

In a statement to the press afterward, the leaders spoke in four languages but with essentially one voice.
A senior EU official with knowledge of the talks in Versailles said the four-country format had been decided “because the opportunity came up.”

“If the opportunity rises up again in the future, we will do it again,” he added.

The meeting of the Formidable 4 did not include anything special or surprising. Indeed, the leaders seemed to focus only on communicating a common response to the white paper issued last week by European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker laying out five potential scenarios for the future of the EU.

That common response was a clear preference for scenario 3, the so-called multispeed Europe. Rather than bending to the Euroskeptics, it calls for greater cooperation and integration to the degree each country is ready for it, on issues such as defense, security, taxation and social policies. The meeting was essentially a show of unity ahead of the upcoming EU summits in Brussels and Rome, as well as the expected triggering by Britain of Article 50 this month.

In a statement to the press afterward, the leaders spoke in four languages but with essentially one voice.

Hollande called it “differentiated cooperations,” while Merkel called on the EU to accept “that some countries will go faster than others.” Gentiloni said we should allow “different levels of integration” to take place.

“It was necessary for us four to all gather here to realize that we are in a time of tension,” Merkel said. “We need optimism … and the ability to act.”

She added, “We must have the courage to accept that some countries go ahead and can make progress a little faster than others.”

Rajoy said his country was ready to go further with EU integration. “Our countries must make choices,” he said. “Because without choices, we will undermine the EU.”


Maïa de La Baume and David M. Herszenhorn  

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