Barroso withdraws Balkenende’s invite

European Commission president José Manuel Barroso has withdrawn invitations to attend an informal summit on the future of the EU from a number of EU leaders, including Dutch prime minister Jan Peter Balkenende.

Barroso’s spokeswoman said there had been a misunderstanding about the nature of the meeting. Barroso also wanted to avoid ‘speculations about a divided Europe’.
Balkenende told ANP he accepted the reasoning. ‘It now appears that the meeting as originally planned could have led to divisions in Europe when what we need is unity,’ Balkenende said.
Balkenende was asked several months ago to brainstorm about the future of the EU with a number of other EU leaders including German chancellor Angela Merkel and British prime minister Tony Blair, ANP reported.
The meeting will still go ahead, but only with Merkel and the prime ministers of Portugal and Slovenia, her successors as chairman of the council of ministers.

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