Rajoy supports a multi-speed Europe to encourage further integration

2017-03-16 08:00:00

On Monday, Spanish prime minister Mariano Rajoy supported the idea of a multi-speed Europe and said that Spain is prepared to "go further" towards European integration, alongside any other countries who feel the same.

He made these comments in a joint appearance with French president François Hollande, German chancellor Angela Merkel and Italian prime minister Paolo Gentiloni at the Palace of Versailles, where European leaders were meeting earlier this week to analyse the future of the EU after Brexit.

Rajoy, who stressed that he wants greater and better European integration, agrees with the three other leaders that this type of Europe would be possible if there were stronger cooperation from several other countries.

This was the first time he had clearly expressed his support for a multi-speed Europe and he explained that this is his preferred option for the future of the EU among those presented by the European Commission in its White Book, because it would mean "greater and better integration."

"I believe that right now Europe needs to look further afield, because the times when it has done that have been the best in its history," he said.

He then went on to express his support for Hollande and Merkel - and later Gentiloni - in their arguments for a Europe which functions at more than one speed.

"I agree with what we have just heard. Spain is prepared to go further towards European integration, with all those who want to work towards that," he stressed.

Uncertainties ahead

The prime minister also pointed out that the EU has many challenges and uncertainties ahead and must try to respond to those with clear messages.

He believes the European Summit in Rome on 25 March, which is being held to commemorate the 60th anniversary of signing the treaties which were the origin of the EU, would be the perfect opportunity to provide those messages.

Sr Rajoy believes the European Union "is a success story", that its priority should be to attend more intensively and effectively to the problems of European citizens, and to progress towards further European integration.source surinenglish