EU leaders comment on summit talks
European Union leaders paused from their summit after hours of talks focused on trying to find a solution to the euro zone debt crisis.
Following are highlights of comments and other senior officials after their talks, which will resume later on Friday.
BRITISH PRIME MINISTER DAVID CAMERON
ON INTERGOVERNMENTAL TREATY:
“I said before I came to Brussels that if I couldn’t get adequate safeguards for Britain in a new European treaty, then I wouldn’t agree to it. What is on offer isn’t in Britain’s interests, so I didn’t agree to it.”
“Of course we want the euro zone countries to come together and to solve their problems, but we should only allow that to happen within the European Union treaties if there are proper protections for the single market and for other key British interests.
“Without those safeguards, it is better not to have a treaty within a treaty, but to have those countries make their arrangements separately. That is what is now going to happen.”
“So we will not be presenting this new treaty, when it’s agreed, to our parliament. It will not involve Britain.”
“I wasn’t prepared to agree that treaty, to take it to my parliament in that way, and that is why I rejected signing this treaty today. The right thing for Britain, a tough decision, but the right one.”
EU COUNCIL PRESIDENT HERMAN VAN ROMPUY
ON ‘NEW FISCAL COMPACT’:
“For the short term, we agreed on immediate action to overcome the current difficulties, and for the longer term, we agreed on a new fiscal compact for the euro zone.”
“It also essential to give a medium and longer term perspective. We therefore agreed on a new fiscal compact. It means we all commit to a new European strong fiscal rule. It means member states will transpose it into their constitution or equivalent.
“It means reinforcing our rules on excessive deficit procedures by making them more automatic. It also means that member states would have to submit their draft budgetary plans to the (European) Commission.
“This was a broad agreement on the substance. As regards the form, everyone wants to make this new commitment solemnly binding.”
“The conclusion is that the 17 euro zone members, plus six others, will conclude an inter-governmental treaty. Two other countries have not yet have a mandate to participate.”
“An inter-governmental treaty can be approved and ratified much more rapidly than a full-fledged treaty change, and I think speed is also very important to enhance credibility.”
ON REPORT TO BE PREPARED WITH EU COMMISSION PRESIDENT JOSE MANUEL BARROSO AND EUROGROUP PRESIDENT JEAN-CLAUDE JUNCKER:
“As you know, I prepared an interim report, and it was decided tonight that with my two colleagues, I will prepare a further report in June on deepening fiscal integration.”
“We took on, let us call them euro bonds to make myself a little bit understandable.”
“We haven’t got an agreement this night on this issue, but the euro area member states gave a mandate again to the president of the Commission, the president of the Eurogroup and the president of the European Council… to continue our work and to report on this, specifically on fiscal integration, and fiscal integration means, and I mentioned it in the meeting, the problem of mutualisation of public debt, to report on this in June.”
“So we will discuss this issue again, hopefully in calmer waters and in a more serene climate.”
ON GIVING THE ESM A BANKING LICENCE:
“There was no agreement on that.”
ON FUNDS FOR THE IMF:
“Euro area and other member states will aim to make available additional resources of up to 200 billion euro to the IMF.”
ON BRINGING THE PERMANENT ESM BAILOUT FUND INTO FORCE:
“The EFSF leverage will be rapidly deployed, and we also agreed on the acceleration of the entry into force of the ESM rescue fund. It should enter into force in July 2012.”
ON LOSSES FOR BONDHOLDERS:
“As regards the so-called PSI, private sector involvement, we have made a major change to our doctrine. From now on, we will strictly adhere to the IMF principles and practices. Or (to) put it more bluntly, our first approach to PSI, which had a very negative effect on the debt markets, is now officially over.”
IMF MANAGING DIRECTOR CHRISTINE LAGARDE
“We can be very pleased at the result.”
EUROPEAN COMMISSION PRESIDENT JOSE MANUEL BARROSO
ON AGREEMENT OF EURO ZONE AND OTHERS:
“We would have preferred of course a unanimous agreement, in fact, in the interim report presented by President Van Rompuy, also with my contribution and full agreement, we have put other proposals.”
“This was not possible, because this required unanimity, so I think the only alternative that was left was to do it through this kind of intergovernmental treaty.”
ON ROLE OF EUROPEAN INSTITUTIONS IN INTERGOVERNMENTAL TREATY:
“As regards the role of the institutions, we believe, and it’s our legal advice… that it is possible for the European institutions to take part in this exercise.”
“If you look at the conclusions, what is now asked from the Commission is in fact competences like we never had before, and we are determined, of course if we can do it from a legal point of view, to exercise these competences in full, so that we can reinforce these new fiscal rules.”
FRENCH PRESIDENT NICOLAS SARKOZY
“This is a summit that will go down in history … We would have preferred a reform of the treaties among 27 (nations). That wasn’t possible, given the position of our British friends. And so it will be through an intergovernmental treaty of 17, but open to others.”
GERMAN CHANCELLOR ANGELA MERKEL
ON TREATY CHANGE:
“We have designed the treaty so that it’s not just related to the 17 euro states, but so that all who want to take part can do so. That will be many countries beyond the 17 member states. Some still have to check.”
ON IMPLEMENTING THE ESM PERMANENT BAILOUT FUND:
“We will move forward (the date of) the permanent ESM to gain bigger legal security and we are considering making available means as bilateral loans to the IMF to get additional security with the help of other countries that are not part of the euro.
“I believe that after long negotiations this is a very, very important result, because we have learned from the past and from mistakes and because in future (there will be) binding decisions, binding rules, more influence from the European Commission, more community and with that higher coherence.”
EUROPEAN CENTRAL BANK PRESIDENT MARIO DRAGHI
ON AGREEMENTS REACHED IN TALKS:
“It’s going to be the basis for a good fiscal compact and more discipline in economic policy in the euro area members.
“We came to conclusions that will have to be fleshed out more in the coming days.”