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A Russian gas pipeline (file photo) (ITAR-TASS) March 23, 2006 -- EU leaders began two days of talks in Brussels today focusing on ways to secure energy supplies for the 25-country bloc.

European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso has been trying to convince the EU's 25-member states to adopt a unified energy policy.


But disputes over economic policy and cross-border mergers threaten to block any kind of agreement.


French President Jacques Chirac defended his government's attempt to block the takeover of leading French energy giants by an Italian company.


Spain, Poland, and Italy have also tried to block recent cross-border mergers in other sectors.


Austrian Chancellor Wolfgang Schussel, whose country currently heads the EU's rotating presidency, appealed to his fellow leaders to move away from economic protectionism.


The summit is also expected to discuss proposals for the further enlargement of the EU to Turkey and the Balkans, and moves to revive debate about the currently moribund EU constitution.


(AP, dpa)

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