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Europe

France and Germany to Set Up European Think Tank

France and Germany intend to establish a European think tank, based in Brussels, to advance European ideas on the World stage, French daily Le Monde reported.

Although it is an unmistakably Franco-German initiative, conceived at the 40th anniversary of the Elysée Treaty, Paris and Berlin are keen to involve other EU member states – both present and future. According to Le Monde, Italy, the UK, Spain and Belgium have expressed an interest in the idea and contacts are being made with Poland. However, no country has formally given its accord. The think tank would allow Europe to "contribute fully to international debates on economic, financial and trade policy" and "to make use of an increased capacity to analyse and propose ideas, therefore reinforcing its position in these domains." The hope is that Europe will stop looking at purely internal affairs and turn its attention to global issues. Crucial talks will take place Friday on the fringes of a European treasury directors' meeting. If French and German representatives are able to persuade some of their colleagues, an official proposition will be made to finance ministers. The annual budget of the think tank would be approximately €3 million ($3.7 million). (EUobserver.com)

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