Van Rompuy calls for sense of urgency in eurozone

European Union President Herman Van Rompuy called on Monday for a fresh sense of urgency in tackling the eurozone debt crisis in the run up to a «crucial» summit of national EU leaders next month.

“Europe is on the way out of the crisis,» Van Rompuy said in a video statement before attending the UN General Assembly in New York this week.

But amid stalemate over the need or otherwise for a full Spanish sovereign bailout, over whether to give Greece more time to meet budget and reform commitments and over how far and fast to push eurozone and EU banking union, Van Rompuy warned against complacency.

“As long as 25 million people … are looking for a job and as long as we have not yet fully stabilised the euro, we cannot sit back and I will make sure that we will not sit back,» he said.

Van Rompuy said he detected around national capitals «a tendency of losing the sense of urgency» on both short- and long-term issues, and stressed: «This must not happen.”

The upcoming October 18-19 summit must «deal with the hard questions on the euro,» he said, referring to faults in the design of the single currency.

He said that «some elements were missing from the (euro’s) structure.”

Accordingly, the summit will «discuss very concrete plans» for closer political, economic and currency union — «something that should have been done a long time ago,» he said.

Efforts to put the EU on a stronger footing were not just for the sake of sound budgets but «for growth and jobs and for our common future,» he added.

Sharp differences have once more emerged between France and EU powerhouse Germany over how to implement plans for tighter EU policy coordination, after the European Central Bank acted to reduce pressure on financial markets.

France nevertheless wants to convince Spain to accept a full debt bailout under the EU’s new machinery, offer Greece more time to meet the terms of its rescue and accelerate plans to set up a cross-border banking union.

The eurozone has already agreed to lend up to 100 billion euros ($130 billion) to Spain’s stricken banks.

Germany is notably cool on upgrading that aid into a full bailout, but it also wants the EU to take a slow but steady approach on the banking sector reforms.

German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble, backed by Britain and other non eurozone states who must agree, said last week that it would not be possible to create a full banking union with a single regulator from January 1 next year.

His French counterpart Pierre Moscovici noted that to go slow now would be a mistake.


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