‘I prefer a two-speed Europe to a stalled Europe’, says Bettel

Xavier Bettel Luxembourg Prime Minister Xavier Bettel

Luxembourg Prime Minister Xavier Bettel wants to see a “two-speed EU” in which no country can hold others “hostage”, according to an interview with Euronews concerning the future of the bloc as it celebrates 60 years of existence.

When asked whether this were the beginning of the end for the European Union, Bettel replied: “On the contrary, the 60-year anniversary is the moment when we look at what works well.”

He pointed out that Europe began as a project of peace between France and Germany, “which before then were sometimes shooting at each other”.

Referring to the Treaty of Rome 60 years on, the Prime Minister said “it marks 60 years of having liberties, having rights, living in a space where I can go to work, I can go to live, I can get married, I can die, I can study, I can be cared for, I can be defended, I can be elected. It is something we must remember”.

Responding to a comment by the Euronews interviewer that Poland had rejected a two-speed Europe, Bettel sought to clarify the issue by highlighting the digital industry.

“With the digital agenda, for example, we have 28 regulators, we have 28 markets, we are blocked between the United States and Asia, we are caught in a vice,” he said.

“We need to understand we need a common strategy.”

He continued by warning that “it is not because a country says ‘I do not want to’ that we won’t advance”.

He added: “We should be able to move forward issue by issue. It will not be a Europe with those who want and those who don’t want.”

Returning to his vision of the EU in the future, he said that, if one country did not want to move forward, “it is not the European Union”.

He added that his preference was to remain as 27, before quipping: “I would have preferred 28 … (but) I respect that decision and regret it.”

Bettel concluded the interview by stating: “I would prefer a two-speed Europe to a stalled Europe.”