Monday, October 18, 1999 Published at 14:36 GMT 15:36 UK
Radical plan to reshape EU
The European Union is likely to expand over the next decade
Proposals to increase the power of the EU at the expense of individual member states have been unveiled in Brussels, opening what is likely to be a heated international debate.
A report prepared for the European Commission President Romano Prodi recommends limiting the national veto over new legislation.
The so-called 'panel of wise men' was appointed to look at ways of reforming the EU, which may double in size over the next decade.
The Commission recently extended the list of nations holding formal talks about entry, possibly bringing in former eastern bloc countries such as Romania and Lithuania, as well as existing front runners like Poland and the Czech Republic.
The report says there are clear indications that the systems of European government are not working properly even now in a body of 15 members.
With a union of 25, 30 or or more in the foreseeable future, it says the need for change is obvious.
The BBC's European Affairs Analyst William Horsley says that, in broad terms, the report suggests ways of letting the European Union function more like a sovereign government.
This, he adds, will be welcomed in some EU member states but in others, like Britain, the idea of eroding national powers will be greeted with dismay.
The British Prime Minister, Tony Blair, says his government welcomes a closer partnership with the rest of the EU but is opposed to increasing the powers of the Commission and the European Parliament.
Monday's proposals will be discussed at an Inter-Governmental Conference on the future of the European Union next year.