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Germany

Schröder Praises Blair's EU Message

German Chancellor Gerhard Schröder on Thursday welcomed what he said was British Prime Minister Tony Blair's call for the EU to be a "political union." Blair, in a speech earlier Thursday to the European parliament, "clearly said he was for a political union," Schröder told reporters in Berlin. He said he expected the "British presidency of the European Union to also work in this spirit." "We shall see if it succeeds," Schröder added. Blair called Thursday for an end to Europe's bitter wrangling over its future as he outlined his vision for Britain's EU presidency -- which starts on July 1 -- and appealed for far-reaching reforms. "I am a passionate pro-European. I always have been," he told Euro-deputies. "I believe in Europe with a strong and caring social dimension. I would never accept a Europe that was simply an economic market."

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