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Thursday, 15 November, 2001, 13:17 GMT
Blair discusses Euro war role
Romano Prodi with Tony Blair in Tuscany in 1999
Prodi says an EU foreign policy is a long-term goal
Tony Blair has met European Commission President Romano Prodi in the wake of concern from some on the continent that the UK has sidelined smaller states over policy on the war in Afghanistan.

Mr Prodi himself criticised unnamed European Union member states this week which, he said, were getting in the way of a single voice for the 15-member organisation.

Without this goal we are powerless in the big united and global orb

Romano Prodi on a common EU foreign policy
Some observers interpreted those comments as a veiled attack on Mr Blair and his independent efforts to cement the international anti-terrorism coalition.

Mr Prodi says the EU currently has no authority on foreign and security policy but that must develop it in the future if European states are not to be left "powerless".

Exclusion worries

Later on Thursday Mr Blair is also meeting Austria's Chancellor, Wolfgang Schuessel, who has taken Mr Prodi to task over the smaller countries' exclusion from a number of high-profile meetings on the military campaign.

Mr Schuessel has voiced the concerns of some smaller EU states who were left out of the "mini-summit" held in Downing Street earlier this month.

Wolfgang Schuessel, Austrian Chancellor
Schuessel has complained of exclusion
The meetings in Downing Street follow the announcement that thousands of British troops are being put on standby for deployment on the ground in Afghanistan.

Mr Blair has suggested they could be used in future frontline offensives against the Taleban, although humanitarian and 'stabilisation' work would be the priority.

Mr Blair and Mr Prodi were expected to discuss how the EU will be involved in the next military, political and humanitarian efforts in Afghanistan.

Mr Prodi told BBC Radio 4's Today programme the EU did not yet have any power in the military or foreign policy field but he thought this development would be the last act in "building Europe".


"Without this goal we are powerless in the big united and global war."

He said European states did not get results when they acted individually and pointed to the latest World Trade Organisation talks as an example of the "fantastic" outcomes that could be achieved by collective EU action.

But the EU had still acted effectively in tackling terrorism and getting humanitarian aid into Afghanistan, argued Mr Prodi.

"We spoke with one voice and are taking collectively very big decisions for the arrest, for the money laundering - in all the chapters where we need new cooperation against terrorists."

Mr Prodi left Number 10 after 75 minutes of talks without making any comments to waiting reporters.

President of the European Commission Romano Prodi
"If European states act individually they don't get any result"

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