BRUSSELS (Reuters) - If the euro zone is to be strengthened, the 17 countries that share the single currency must be allowed to integrate more quickly than the wider European Union of 27 nations, the president of the European Commission said on Wednesday.

In a firm acknowledgement that a "two-speed" Europe is all but inevitable, Jose Manuel Barroso said that a better functioning of Europe's economic and monetary union depended on some countries moving together more quickly than others.

"The euro area must be able to integrate quicker and deeper than the EU at large, whilst preserving the integrity of the policies conducted at 27, notably the single market," Barroso said as he unveiled the Commission's vision for the future of the bloc's monetary union.

"This means that, wherever appropriate, the euro area measures should be open to the participation of other member states."

(Writing by Luke Baker)


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