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HIGHLIGHTS-Comments from EU leaders' summit
BRUSSELS, June 28 |
BRUSSELS, June 28 (Reuters) - EU leaders were meeting on Thursday for their 20th summit since Europe's debt crisis began 2-1/2 years ago.
France, Italy and Spain were expected to press Germany to consider short-term measures to help struggling countries, and longer-term steps such as jointly issued debt, to defend the euro currency.
Following are comments during a break in the summit by EU leaders:
EU COUNCIL PRESIDENT HERMAN VAN ROMPUY
ON FINANCIAL STABILITY:
"We have in the growth and employment agenda a chapter related to financial stability. This chapter has not been opened yet, we want to discuss it at the same time as the report on the future of the Economic and Monetary Union.
"Two countries want to establish a link between long-term measures and short-term measures. We will start tonight the (discussion) on short-term measures.
"There's no blockage, we keep on working and we move on."
ON SHORT-TERM MEASURES:
"The short-term measures are measures linked to the situation on the markets and will be discussed at 17 (euro zone members), in another format, let's say shortly."
ON BOOSTING GROWTH:
"What we already agreed is about the growth and jobs agenda and the key element is that we boost the financing of the economy by mobilising 120 billion euros for immediate growth measures."
Following are earlier comments by EU leaders and officials before talks began on Thursday:
EU COUNCIL PRESIDENT HERMAN VAN ROMPUY
"This is a meeting where we will adopt important measures on growth and jobs. People in our countries are worried about the present and nervous about the future. They expect us to give a clear message about the way forward, what we want to achieve and how we get there.
"Reviving growth in our economies and creating jobs, especially for young people, requires immediate action. Restoring confidence in our currency calls for stability today and a credible perspective for the future.
"That is why both our work on growth and jobs and our reflection on the future of the economic and monetary union are crucial at this stage.
"I sincerely hope that by tomorrow we will be able to have made progress son all these fronts. Europeans expect no less from us."
SLOVENIAN PRIME MINISTER JANEZ JANSA
ON MARKET STABILITY:
"I think that the markets will get some immediate answers, and some promises. I don't think that the markets will be satisfied, they have never been after a European summit."
ON PAYING FOR SOLIDARITY:
"I think that we need more solidarity, but solidarity cannot go against the reforms, against the commitments which member countries gave during the last years, when we took some common steps to solve the crisis.
"So solidarity is not in question. The problem is with the money for financing the solidarity."
GERMAN CHANCELLOR ANGELA MERKEL
ON SUMMIT AIMS:
"Today we will talk about the pact for growth and jobs. We have created a good programme here in particular regarding investments in the future and more over what will create more job opportunities specially for young people.
"I hope that we will be able to agree on this today and with that make an important signal, also for the fiscal pact, that we need solid budgets on the one hand and on the other hand growth and jobs.
"Twenty percent of Europe's young are without jobs, that's much too high a figure. The council today feel obliged to create more jobs for these people and tomorrow I will tell you about the other points for discussion."
BRITISH PRIME MINISTER DAVID CAMERON
ON EXPECTED SUMMIT OUTCOME:
"I think we will make some process on more plans for growth and the euro zone will make progress on some of the plans that it has.
"I know people are frustrated that these summits keep happening and not enough decisions are made. These are hard decisions for the euro zone countries to make, and we should be encouraging them to go ahead."
ON DEEPER EU INTEGRATION:
"I completely understand and in many ways share people's concerns about Brussels getting too much power. That is why this government legislated to put in place an absolute lock so that governments cannot pass powers from Britain to Brussels without asking people first in a referendum. It was this government that did that.
"Now of course we're saying to the euro zone countries they do need to do more things together to strengthen their currency and make sense of their currency, but Britain is going to stay out of that.
"We want Europe to work for us as a single market, as a place where we trade, as a place where we cooperate, and I'm going in there to make sure we get the safeguards to make sure that that can keep happening."
BELGIAN PRIME MINISTER ELIO DI RUPO
ON PROBLEMS FACING EURO ZONE COUNTRIES:
"There are important measures that need to be taken. There are countries like Spain, Italy, Greece, Cyprus now, Portugal, that are facing very large problems and if we don't help them it will be a domino effect for the rest of Europe and so for us."
ON SOURCES OF HELP:
"...There are always significant financial means, maybe other countries will ask for these financial means. Europe has always advanced in stages but this stage of wanting to do more may be passed today. Belgium, for example, wants the European Investment Bank to have more means so we can invest further in a structural way in Europe."
DUTCH PRIME MINISTER MARK RUTTE
ON DEALING WITH EURO ZONE BANKING AND SOVEREIGN DEBT PROBLEMS:
"I'm not prepared to think up all kinds of new instruments. There are existing instruments, under strict conditions, which countries can use who can't make it on their own."
"We don't solve problems in Europe by transferring sovereignty, we solve the problems by sticking to what we have agreed to."
"There is no medicine, no paracetamol to solve these issues. These countries will have to continue with their reforms. There are instruments available for countries who say they can't cope on their own in the short term but I don't see no necessity to think up new instruments."
ON SITUATION IN SPAIN AND ITALY:
"The only way for Spain and Italy to get out of this crisis is to bite the bullet and to continue with what has not happened sufficiently in past years: to reform their labour markets, to make savings and make reforms."
"I can be prepared to use existing instruments to help those countries to get back on track if they carry out difficult reforms but one measure can never replace the other. Italy and Spain can never stop reforms because they are on a European emergency infusion."
FRENCH PRESIDENT FRANCOIS HOLLANDE
ON HOPES FOR THE SUMMIT:
"I have come so that Europe can have a medium-term framework to give confidence. I have come so that growth will be at the heart of our commitments and that there will be decisions that, I hope, will be accepted and that will allow us to generate extra (economic) activity for countries that need it.
"And I have come so that there are very rapid solutions to support the countries that are most in difficulty on the markets, while they have made considerable efforts to straighten out their public finances. So I come in a spirit of giving to Europe the necessary force, coherence and solidarity."
"If we succeed in having more growth through the pact that we're going to adopt, a long-term vision and immediate measures to support countries that have made efforts but who can't support excessively high interest rates - we will have worked well."
ON CONCRETE TERMS IN THE GROWTH PACT:
"The important thing was that we go beyond words. Growth cannot simply be noted in a final communique.
"I wanted a growth pact with a number not simply for show, but a translation - 1 percent of European GNP, 120 to 130 billion euros - which we will make sure is spent rapidly and in ways that will be useful for economies and investment.
"All this will allow use to create jobs and prepare for the future. So I think that this summit has already been useful, on condition that it accepts the growth pact."
EU ECONOMIC AND MONETARY AFFAIRS COMMISSIONER OLLI REHN
ON MARKETS AND BORROWING COSTS:
"I trust that we will have the possibility to take decisions in the European summit that will help to stabilise the financial markets in the short term and help to reduce borrowing costs of countries like Italy and Spain."
SPANISH PRIME MINISTER MARIANO RAJOY
ON SPANISH BORROWING COSTS:
"We're financing ourselves at costs which are too high and many Spanish institutions can't even access funding...
"The price of the credit for Spain is too high right now, and I think the European Union has to be conscious of this and that decisions will need to be taken."
ON DIRECT RECAPITALISATION FOR BANKS:
"This goes into the banking unions. It is an idea with pros and cons... I don't think it will be resolved today in a definitive manner."
GERMAN CHANCELLOR ANGELA MERKEL
"Today, the package for growth and employment is at the centre of the debate. We have now worked on this at all summits this year, in January, in March and now. Today it is fully developed, so that we can see it off."
LUXEMBOURG'S PRIME MINISTER AND EUROGROUP PRESIDENT JEAN-CLAUDE JUNCKER
"We must talk about the issue of growth. We must talk about the short-term problems in the financial markets."
AUSTRIAN CHANCELLOR WERNER FAYMANN
"It's important that we take some steps faster on our way to deeper integration."
"We have to show the people of Europe that we are serious."
FINNISH PRIME MINISTER JYRKI KATAINEN
ON ESM PERMANENT BAILOUT FUND:
"We have to accept that the ESM has preferred creditor status and it's very important. It's a crucial part of the ESM. I can imagine that it would be very difficult to accept by the national parliaments if the rules would be changed."
ON MUTUALISED EURO ZONE DEBT:
"We cannot create Europe which is based on mutualised liabilities or new structures for just having new payers for the current bill. New structures must be beneficial for everyone."
"We don't like the euro bonds."
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