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Sunday, May 9, 1999 Published at 14:51 GMT 15:51 UK

World: Europe

Prodi calls for Euro army

Prodi: "A common army is a logical next step"

The next president of the European Commission says the EC should be more like a government and should have its own army.

President designate Romano Prodi told BBC One's On the Record that the commission should be "more of a government than a bureaucracy".

Prodi: "You cannot have a common foreign policy without a common defence policy"
The former Italian prime minister said Europe needs a "strong government" to take "strong decisions if needed".

Mr Prodi, who takes over in September, said: "This is clear. You must have a government and a good civil service.

"The problem with the old commission [was] that there was a grey zone, a grey area between political responsibility and civil servants' responsibility," he said.

"Let's be clear, the commissioners have a political responsibility. They will be the government."

'Common army'

Mr Prodi went on to say that Europe should in time have a common foreign policy - which would logically lead to a common defence policy and a common army.

Ultimately he would want a European army in the same way as a European single currency exists, he said, with countries deciding individually whether they wanted to contribute to it.

He said it was an "inevitable" move - although "years and years and years away" - and that Britain should be a part of it or face being marginalised.

"The alternative [is] you will be marginalised in the new world history," he said.

Mr Prodi was approved by the European Parliament on 5 May as the next president of the EC, following the mass resignation of the previous commission amid fraud and negligence allegations.

Before the vote, he promised to reform the commission, push forward on further European integration and to put the crisis in the Balkans on the top of the EU's agenda.

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