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Wednesday, 12 December, 2001, 18:00 GMT
Prodi demands action not words
Romano Prodi
Prodi complains that projects are constantly held up
The President of the European Commission, Romano Prodi, has issued a stern rebuke to the 15 European Union member states ahead of Friday's Laeken summit, urging them to stop just talking about big ideas and start implementing some of their promises.


When general commitments have to be translated into a specific political decision you find all sorts of problems arising

Romano Prodi
Mr Prodi complained that members would happily agree to an idea in principle, but when it came to doing something, they would find financial and political excuses to stall it.

He singled out the Galileo satellite project and plans for an EU-wide patent as examples of projects which had become bogged down.

At Laeken, the 15 heads of state will establish a convention on the future of Europe, which will discuss reforms of the EU aimed at making the organisation more transparent and democratic.

Pitfalls

But Mr Prodi said before the EU embarked on new projects, it had to get on with what it had already committed itself to.


It really beggars belief that you have the research ministers all enthusiastically agreeing to it and then the other subsequent councils blocking it

Romano Prodi
"When there are general commitments, people smilingly adopt them," he said.

"But when these general commitments have to be translated into a specific political decision you find all sorts of problems arising. Domestic politics gets involved, financial issues are raised, all that sort of thing".

He said the lack of political will to follow projects through was expensive and unsustainable.

The Galileo satellite navigation project, aimed at setting up a rival to the American Global Positioning System, has been on the agendas of many summits and will reappear at Laeken again.

But there is still no sign that the continuing squabbles over funding will be resolved this week.

"There are all sorts of pitfalls before it and it really beggars belief that you have the research ministers all enthusiastically agreeing to it and then the other subsequent councils blocking it," Mr Prodi said.

Disagreements have also dogged the EU's anti-terror plans, with Italy blocking the proposed Europe-wide arrest warrant until a last minute U-turn on Tuesday.

See also:

11 Dec 01 | Europe
Italy U-turn on arrest warrant
10 Dec 01 | Europe
Q&A: The EU Laeken summit
08 Dec 01 | Europe
Italy heads for EU showdown
08 Dec 01 | UK Politics
Italy urged to reconsider warrant
06 Dec 01 | Europe
Italy blocks EU warrant plans
03 Dec 01 | Europe
EU to push through terror laws
16 Nov 01 | UK Politics
Agreement on EU-wide arrest warrants
19 Oct 01 | UK Politics
Blair welcomes EU anti-terror support
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