Author`s name Pravda.Ru

EU heads to discuss reforms to cope globalization

British Prime Minister Tony Blair welcoming heads of the EU governments near London for a summit to discuss the economic challenges posed by globalization.

Tony Blair called for the informal summit at Hampton Court, as the UK is holder of the rotating EU presidency.

He told the European Parliament he had identified six priority areas where the EU needed to take action and these will be discussed at the summit.

Some MEPs have said Mr Blair should concentrate on tackling crises over the EU budget and the constitution.

However, the prime minister said on Wednesday the UK would do its "level best" to get a deal on the 2007-13 budget by the end of its presidency in December, reports BBC.

Mr Blair also proposed putting more EU cash into research and development, and called for a European research centre, similar to the American National Science Foundation. "Our university sector isn't competing in the way it needs to with the United States," he argued.

At today's meeting, the 25 leaders are likely to endorse a strategy document prepared by the European Commission that identifies growing competition from China and India as a major challenge for the EU.

That document has already been attacked by Eurosceptics because it calls for a more "co-ordinated approach at the EU level" on taxation.

The outgoing German Chancellor, Gerhard Schroeder will attend, complicating matters for Mr Blair who had hoped to welcome his more reform-minded successor, Angela Merkel.

However, Britain has high hopes to avoid another summit clash with the French president, Jacques Chirac, who criticized Mr Blair after the breakdown of a meeting in June to set a new EU budget for 2007-13, informs the Independent.