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Prodi calls for EU unity on terror

Prodi, Blair
Prodi is calling for solidarity among EU members  

LONDON, England -- Pan-European measures taken in the war against terror have shown the EU can unite on the world stage, commission president Romano Prodi has said.

Prodi said that while individual states had taken decisions about military action, the EU had been able to act collectively on a raft of related issues such as money laundering.

Prodi was speaking in London ahead of a meeting with Prime Minister Tony Blair which was expected to discuss the thorny issue of foreign policy co-operation.

"We are taking collectively very big decisions -- for (powers of) arrest, for money laundering -- in all the chapters where we need new cooperation against terrorists," he told BBC radio.

The UK says it has evidence that Osama bin Laden admitted responsibility for the Sept. 11 attacks. CNN's Susan Candiotti reports (November 15)

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CNN's Robin Oakley reports Prime Minister Tony Blair confirmed thousands of UK troops have been put on two-day readiness for Afghanistan (November 14)

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He added Blair was right to press ahead on the military front because the EU "has no power in the military side of foreign policy, not yet."

Prodi voiced his disapproval last month after Britain, France and Germany met separately during an EU leaders' summit in Belgium to discuss military moves in Afghanistan.

The Commission was also not invited to Downing Street earlier this month for more anti-terror talks that included the leaders of France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Belgium and The Netherlands.

The discussions were hosted by Blair -- who has been at the forefront of rallying international support for the U.S.-led action in Afghanistan.

Prodi left Downing Street after Thursday's meeting with Blair without speaking to waiting reporters.

UK Government officials said the meeting had been scheduled long ago and would cover a range of EU issues as well as the situation in Afghanistan.

Since September 11 EU finance, justice and transport ministers have jointly endorsed measures to combat global terrorism, including a move to apply money-laundering rules to various serious crimes, in addition to the drugs trade.

They also pledged to freeze assets of terrorists and their organisations and boost airport and aircraft security.

Following the meeting, Blair had talks with Austrian Chancellor Wolfgang Schussel about the military and humanitarian developments.

Speaking afterwards Blair said aid was now going in to Afghanistan at a far greater rate than ever before and that food was being delivered to the people who most needed it, as a result of the changing military situation.

Both Austria and Britain had agreed on the need for a broad-based ethnic post-Taliban government.

Austria is officially neutral, though it has allowed the U.S. military to use its air space in the anti-terror campaign.


• EU leaders reaffirm war support
November 5, 2001
• Blair: 'Never forget September 11'
October 30, 2001
• Terror to dominate EU summit
October 18, 2001
• EU reassures would-be members
June 16, 2001

• The European Commission
• European Union

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