Highlights: Comments by officials at EU summit

BRUSSELS Fri Dec 17, 2010 7:35am EST

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - Following are comments by European leaders and senior officials on Friday at a summit in Brussels focusing on ways to tackle the euro zone debt crisis.

Leaders have spent most of 2010 trying to come up with measures to stop the crisis spreading, but it has already forced Greece and Ireland to seek EU bailouts and Portugal, Spain, Belgium and others are now in the spotlight.

BRITISH PRIME MINISTER DAVID CAMERON

"Tomorrow, Angela Merkel, Nicolas Sarkozy and I, together with a number of other partners, will publish a text ... to put a firm marker for these negotiations (on the EU budget).

All over Europe, countries are tightening their belts to deal with their deficits, European cannot be immune from that. We need to see real budgetary restraint from 2014.

The text we will publish talks about at least a real-term freeze for that period (2014-2020).

It is unacceptable to spend more and more and more through the EU budget.

Britain, France, Germany are united on the need to stop this budget getting out of control."

EURO GROUP CHAIRMAN JEAN-CLAUDE JUNCKER

ON CRISIS:

"The financial crisis being a systemic one, a systemic response to it would be of paramount importance.

We have instruments at our disposal. These instruments will be sufficient to respond in the short term to any crisis.

ON STRESS TESTS:

"The last ones were credible but did not cover all the dimensions they could have covered."

EU COUNCIL PRESIDENT HERMAN VAN ROMPUY

ON ECONOMIC COOPERATION:

"Euro area leaders underlined that we had a joint economic strategy and the political will to do whatever is required to ensure the euro zones stability."

ON SIZE OF RESCUE FUND:

"There is sufficient leeway, if need be. Intervention would be possible ... The problem doesn't arise but if it were ever to arise then we would do whatever in necessary."

EUROPEAN COMMISSION PRESIDENT JOSE MANUEL BARROSO

"(There is) also the need to clean up the banking sector and introduce stricter rules and better oversight and transparency.

ITALIAN PRIME MINISTER SILVIO BERLUSCONI

"We spoke about euro bonds. It's an idea that can't be brought in quickly. You need time to convince people hearing about it for the first time, who need to appreciate its value.

"I'd buy them right away instead of the bonds of a single country -- It's Europe that's providing the guarantee.

"Merkel is very opposed, but many others are interested, not least because Europe need only provide the guarantees, it's private investors who will put down the money."

BELGIAN PRIME MINISTER YVES LETERME

ON SETTING UP PERMANENT RESCUE MECHANISM:

"It is very strong signal of confidence toward the markets and I expect that the markets will fully take into account the very important decision that took place."

ON BELGIAN ECONOMY:

"I think our economic fundamentals are very sound ... Our economic growth is superior to the European average. We have less unemployment, we have a surplus on our payment balance and normally speaking we he have a better situation of our public budget, public finances than other countries of the euro zone and the European Union.

JUNCKER

"We will spend the next months adding further details to the crisis mechanism."

"We spoke about this topic (euro bonds). It's known that there's a lot of resistance to the idea ... I don't believe this topic will return to the negotiating table in the foreseeable future."

AUSTRIAN CHANCELLOR WERNER FAYMANN

ON WHETHER EURO ZONE NEEDS A LARGER RESCUE FUND:

"Not necessarily. We will have a very open discussion with ECB head Jean-Claude Trichet to see if it is really necessary to keep expanding the safety net bit by bit or if it is sufficient in its present form."

ON WHETHER EURO ZONE CAN GET BY WITHOUT E-BONDS LONG-TERM

"With euro bonds I see the danger that we act as if we had a common economic and finance policy, which is not the case. And I will certainly not agree to this before I see how Austria exits."

ON WHETHER THE EU COULD LEVY A TAX:

"The difficulty lies in the implementation. For me this is the best evidence the EU has to grow together more strongly. One cannot ask people to contribute to the austerity program before one discusses what the financial markets contribute, especially now that fat profits are being made again."

GERMAN CHANCELLOR ANGELA MERKEL

"Details of the crisis mechanism will be completed by March. It will need to be sufficient in scope, and we have said repeatedly that we will do everything that makes the euro secure."

"The discussions showed yesterday that we need a more common approach in our economic policies and we will have to talk about this in the coming months, especially in the euro zone ... it's not just important to have solid budgets and stable finances but it is also important that we have a common economic policy. Step by step. It will be a long process."

"I think the important point of yesterday's meeting was that everybody was clear in saying that the euro is our common currency and its in our common interest to have a stable and strong euro."

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