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Last Updated: Monday, 4 December 2006, 19:33 GMT
Scrap plan to end EU veto - Reid
John Reid leaves the meeting
Mr Reid said a clear majority of EU states opposed the veto ban
The UK home secretary has called for an end to European Commission plans to scrap the national power of veto on crime policies.

After a meeting in Brussels, John Reid said most EU states opposed the plans, adding: "It's time to move on".

At least 14 nations said they wanted to keep control of issues like counter terrorism and cross-border policing.

EU-wide judicial moves must be agreed unanimously by all 25 states - but it can lead to lengthy delays.

On Monday, Poland blocked plans to set up a Europe-wide prisoner transfer system, allowing convicts sentenced in foreign EU nations to serve sentences in their home countries.

We can no longer tolerate a situation where one country of 25 opposes a decision
Franco Frattini
EU justice commissioner

The EC says the fight against terrorism shows the need to be able to reach decisions by majority.

It wants national vetoes to be replaced with qualified majority voting - a system weighted according to countries' size under which no individual state holds a veto.

Franco Frattini, the EU's justice commissioner, said: "We can no longer tolerate a situation where one country of 25 opposes a decision."

'Weasel words'

But Mr Reid said there was now clearly a large majority of EU governments who opposed giving up the veto in such a sensitive area.

He said: "There's a clear and probably overwhelming majority against [giving up the veto]. That's our view. That's the view of our governments.

"We should not, by using weasel words, attempt to revisit this at a higher level when there's such a clear majority."

The UK, Ireland and Germany have been leading the campaign against giving up sovereign rights over criminal justice affairs.

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