Tense summit opens
Thursday 28 June 2012
It was under immense pressure, due to the crisis, that the European Council opened, on 28 June in Brussels. Indeed, on the one hand the EU must move its economic – and political – integration forward with a pact for growth and a long-term plan; and on the other hand, it has to find immediate solutions for the euro crisis that is choking Spain and Italy.
When he arrived at the summit, the President of the European Council, Herman Van Rompuy, promised that the heads of state and government would “adopt important measures for growth and employment”. French President François Hollande called for “very quick solutions” for the countries in financial difficulty, but also said that Europe needs a mid-term framework “to restore confidence” and for “growth to be at the heart of our commitment”. Chancellor Angela Merkel said that the planned adoption of the ‘pact for growth’ will send “an important signal, along with the budget pact, that we need solid budgets, as well as the other side of the coin, growth and employment”. The situation is an urgent one, Belgian Prime Minister Elio Di Rupo stressed. “Italy, Spain, Greece, Cyprus, Portugal are in great difficulty. If we do not help them, there will be a domino effect for Europe as a whole,” he said.