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Europe

Aznar: Europe is Going Backwards

Spanish Prime Minister José Maria Aznar criticized the pace of European initiatives, defended the EU draft constitution and told his fellow leaders to stop complaining about the United States in a newspaper interview.

Spanish Prime Minister Aznar lashed out at the European Union in a newspaper interview in the French daily Le Monde Monday. "The EU has taken a series of very important decisions: deciding to reunify Europe, reform our institutions, launch the euro, aim to become the most competitive economy in the world, organize a system of defense and justice. And moreover, all of this has broken down. In these areas, Europe is even going backwards!" The Spanish leader asserted, "It has been a long time since the European leaders discussed these matters in depth. Recently, we hardly talk about anything." After he steps down as Spain's premier following elections on Sunday, Aznar said he hoped "Europe would find again its ability to seal deals, that it will rediscover leadership and that certain decisions will finally be taken." The statesman insisted, "We cannot complain every day about the American system and have slower growth, be less flexible, less competitive and create fewer jobs than them. Let's stop complaining and let's do better." Still, he pronounced the EU is "a great success" and warned that "contrary to certain ideas, what is good for Europe is not necessarily rooted in opposition to the United States." (EUObserver.com)

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