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Europe

UK Set to Join EU's Franco-German 'Motor'

British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw wants Britain to link up with France and Germany in order to strengthen the 'motor' driving an enlarged EU.

In an interview with French daily Le Figaro, British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw said: "Associating the UK with the Franco-German motor seems logical as Europe passes from 15 to 25 members." He also hinted that, whilst France and Germany could provide leadership for a union of 15, they would need more power to lead an enlarged EU, which the UK could provide. London's move to form a more concrete 'big three' at the heart of the EU may concern smaller EU states and some future member states because of worries that the union will become a 'directorate' led by the UK, France and Germany. Many in France and Germany may also question whether the UK is ready for such a leadership role given, amongst other things, its reluctance to join the euro. But Straw's statement comes after several signs that the three powerful EU states are working more closely together. London backed Paris and Berlin over the euro rules row and broadly followed the Franco-German line during the failed negotiations on the new EU Constitution. In another sign of growing co-operation, Chirac, Schröder and Blair - the leaders of France, Germany and Britain respectively - will meet next month to discuss ways of thrashing out the Constitution and other EU matters. (EUObserver.com)

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