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Neil Kinnock
"Some member states are attacking Prodi"
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The BBC's Angus Roxburgh reports
"Presentation isn't Romano Prodi's strong point"
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Thursday, 13 April, 2000, 11:48 GMT 12:48 UK
Prodi plot 'rubbish' says Kinnock

Neil Kinnock: Prodi is an "active and able leader"
One of the UK's two European Commissioners Neil Kinnock has described press reports suggesting he is involved in a plot to oust Commission President Romano Prodi as "rubbish".

Mr Kinnock, the former Labour leader and the vice-president of the commission responsible for its reform, was quashing rumours which have circulated in the German and British press.

Reports in the German daily broadsheet, the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, said that Mr Kinnock and his counterpart Chris Patten were planning with other commissioners to remove Mr Prodi.

But Mr Kinnock said that a two-hour meeting with the 19 commissioners and Mr Prodi which has been seen as giving credence to the story had been merely a routin political discussion.

Mr Kinnock also denied that there was concern that Mr Prodi had ambitions to follow in the footsepts of his predecessor Jacques Delors and attempt to create a European superstate.

"It is absolute rubbish to suggest that we are doing anything to undermine Romano Prodi, who is a very active and able leader of the commission team," he told the BBC.

"There are people in a few member states who, for quite other reasons, are in a populist way attacking Europe, and that means having a go at the Commission and Prodi.

"You get these kinds of attacks on an institution and people in the institution, including myself as the reformer and Chris as the developer of the external policies of the EU.

"It isn't all that surprising."

Turning to the charges that Mr Prodi wants to centralise power in the EU, Mr Kinnock said that president had gone on the record as saying that Europe was in need of decentralisation.

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2000
See also:

08 Apr 00 | Europe
Prodi's 'tempest in a teacup'
27 Jan 00 | Europe
Prodi unveils EU reforms
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