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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Varied Agendas Crowd Meeting on EU Future

BRUSSELS -- When 15 nations meet in Turin, Italy on Friday to plan the European Union's future, there will be almost as many agendas as countries.

EU leaders will launch an intergovernmental conference, or IGC, on the bloc's treaties.

The aim is to prepare for members from Eastern Europe, give the bloc a higher profile in foreign affairs, and make it meaningful to its citizens. That much is agreed. But each country has its own ideas on how this should be done. Here is a glance at what each member state wants as it begins the negotiations:

Germany is the country most in favor of pooling sovereignty. It wants an end to consensus decision-making and a move to majority voting on most issues, including foreign policy. It would like to see the Western European Union, or WEU, become the EU's military arm. It also wants more power for the European Parliament.

Bonn's main EU partner, France, is more reluctant to give up national powers. It wants no new powers for Parliament, a smaller European Commission and a beefed up Council of Ministers.

Among its main ideas is the appointment of a senior official in the Council to steer EU foreign policy. Paris also wants a treaty change to recognize that some countries may integrate further and faster than others, in a so-called two-speed Europe.

Speeches in France about the importance of national governments have given some hope to Britain that it will find an ally.

British Prime Minister John Major has vowed to prevent a dilution of national power, including moves to limit a country's right to veto.

The European Court of Justice has become a particular bugbear, with London demanding limits on the court's authority to apply rulings retrospectively and to set up an appeals procedure.

Britain will find some allies. Greece, for example, refuses to countenance a loss of veto in foreign policy issues. Athens has used it on numerous occasions in a long-time row with Turkey.

Summit host Italy and the Benelux three of Belgium, Luxembourg and the Netherlands are pushing for deep political integration. Italian Foreign Minister Suzanna Agnelli talks of Europe's "federal vocation," dismissing anything less as a mere trade zone without soul.

Italy also wants the IGC to tackle the fight against unemployment, simplify the Maastricht Treaty and beef up EU policy on justice and internal affairs.

The Benelux countries favor a federal, integrated Europe. Those three countries, with Ireland, are expected to fight hard to protect the rights of small countries within the bloc.

Employment is high on the agenda of many countries, especially Sweden, Denmark and Finland. The three, possibly joined by Austria, are also keen to have environmental concerns written into law.

Portugal is suspicious of a wider EU role in defense, although it backs the eventual incorporation of the WEU into the EU.

Some questions remain over what Spain wants from the IGC pending a new government. In general, however, it is expected to continue the policies of outgoing Prime Minister Felipe Gonzalez, a supporter of European integration.