Spain, US call for strong European Union
Spanish Foreign Minister Jose Manuel Garcia-Margallo called Tuesday for a strong European Union that stops the "drift" toward intergovernmental accords and speaks with a single voice, while US Ambassador to Spain Alan Solomont said that his country wants to be Europe's partner "with the United Kingdom within it".
The two officials participated in a seminar on US-EU relations organized at the Casa de America, and they agreed on the need to push European integration to fight against the current economic crisis and strengthen trans-Atlantic ties.
Garcia-Margallo said he regretted that the EU is moving away from the "community method" - decision-making among the 27 member states - in favour of accords between governments, and he warned that that tendency will make it more difficult for the bloc to have a common foreign policy, an element that he said is "extraordinarily necessary" if Europe wants to have a relevant role on the international stage.
Along the same line, Solomont expressed his support for a "stronger and more integrated" Europe because Washington needs a trustworthy partner in the world and the EU is "indispensable".
"We want to be partners of the EU with the United Kingdom within it," the ambassador said.
The two men also expressed support for the start of negotiations leading to the signing of a free trade agreement between the EU and the US, although they have not hidden the difficult nature of those talks.