News In Depth
Euro: Enough is enough says Cameron
David Cameron has called for a "lasting solution" to the eurozone crisis after enduring 18 EU summits on the subject since he became Prime Minister.
He voiced his frustration to fellow EU leaders at the latest such summit in Brussels on Wednesday night, arguing for a once-and-for-all sweeping change of policy priorities to deliver growth across Europe - but without giving up on tough austerity measures.
The talks ended after more than six hours with declarations of renewed pledges on austerity coupled with growth and a repeat pledge to do everything to keep Greece in the eurozone - as long as the country keeps its agreement to impose strict austerity measures in return for continued bailouts.
One EU official commented: "You could not expect any decisions that can resolve this crisis overnight. We have been holding talks on the key issues - jobs and growth but we are not today saying much different from what we were saying at the G8 summit in America."
Earlier Mr Cameron emphasised that Greece had to stick to its debt and deficit reduction commitments in return for bailouts - but other countries facing difficulties should be given more central support and longer deadlines to meet austerity goals.
The Prime Minister said every EU summit since he took office - 18 in all - had been about the crisis... bailouts, new financial mechanisms, new eurozone economic rules and recently a new "fiscal pact".
But now EU leaders had to address the "real issues" behind the euro crisis, he said.
He called for a range of growth-producing policies, with support for energy and transport and digital market strategies - all of which would deliver jobs and revitalise economies. The EU single market needed reinforcing and completing, to boost trade across Europe.
"There needs to be decisive action soon that delivers a lasting resolution to this crisis" Mr Cameron insisted.
The Prime Minister - criticised for dictating to the eurozone, justified his remarks by pointing out that the UK was directly affected by eurozone problems - six times more exposed, he said, than the US.
"It is right that we set out our views," he said.
He warned that the rest of Europe needed to be ready for whatever verdict the Greek people delivered at the re-run election on June 17.
As he left the summit in the early hours, Mr Cameron commented: "It was a good meeting in that there was complete agreement that dealing with deficits and getting growth are not alternatives, they go together, you need to do one in order to get the other.
"There was also good agreement that we need to make Europe more competitive, we need to complete the single market, we need to do those structural reforms."
He added: "Then there were good innovative ideas that can help growth in Europe, but frankly there were some bad ideas too: a financial transactions tax is a bad idea, it will put up the cost of people's insurance, put up the cost of people's pensions, it would cost many many jobs, and it would make Europe less competitive and I'll fight it all the way."
The talks over dinner reached no conclusions on calls from France and the European Commission for setting up euro-bonds in the 17-nation eurozone to raise money to take the pressure off indebted countries - an anathema to Germany, which would see the cost of its borrowing rise.
And there was no agreement on the balance between austerity and growth.
New French president Francois Hollande, attending his first summit of EU leaders since his election, pressed his case for more emphasis on growth in animated exchanges with German chancellor Angela Merkel. And he backed the idea of a Financial Transactions Tax despite British rejection of the idea as a non-starter.
Afterwards officials said the summit had been an "informal" gathering with no official results and no advanced expectation of firm decisions.
"We are talking about the issues, coming at them from all sides and working through the options." said the EU official.
Markets closed down on Wednesday in anticipation of no advances in the crisis, but at a post-summit press conference EU Council president Herman Van Rompuy, who chaired the talks, said the momentum was building up towards proposals at the next summit at the end of June on deepening economic and monetary union.
The issuance of euro-bonds to bolster future bailouts had been discussed he said, but that could only take place, if agreed, in the framework of deepening economic and monetary union.
"This will take time and we must consider the implications of such a process," he said.
On Greece, European Commission president Jose Manuel Barroso said: "There is a democratic process taking place in Greece that we respect.
"Let's wait for the people of Greece to have their say on June 17. We will not let ourselves be derailed by those who want to promote speculative scenarios."
A summit statement on the Greek economic crisis said EU leaders were "fully aware" of the "significant" efforts made by Greek citizens.
It said: "The eurozone has shown considerable solidarity, having already disbursed, together with the International Monetary Fund, nearly 150 billion euro in support of Greece since 2010.
"We will ensure that European structural funds and instruments are mobilised to bring Greece on a path towards growth and job creation."
The statement added: "Continuing the vital reforms to restore debt sustainability, foster private investment and reinforce its institutions is the best guarantee of a more prosperous future in the euro area.
"We expect that after the elections, the new Greek government will make that choice."
Chief Secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander said that "the situation in Greece is the most pressing and worrying" of the "issues that need to be sorted out" by European leaders.
Speaking on ITV1's Daybreak, Mr Alexander said: "No rational person would think it would be right for Greece to come out of the euro."
He said it was important to "take steps to stop this happening" despite the UK not being in the euro, adding: "One of the problems we face is this posing a chilling effect on our own economy."
what do you think?
It seems that for the ;last decade or so 'growth' in EU/Euro countries, other than Germany, has been based on borrowing (against increasing future revenues). This would appear to have been a very successfully way of sustaining and f u nding governments spending on infrastructure and public sector employment. The massed ranks of European workers just want to hear more of the same. The justification of continuity will elect the leaders they want. No policy change will take place without the support of the powerfull French trade unions. You borrow cheap to build thousands of new homes, where land is cheap and sunny, for new buyers to borrow to buy on government salaries and pensions(that they borrow to pay) and so on and on round and round....and bust.
Of course Presidente Hollande wants a financial transaction tax, and any other new tax that can be arranged - thats what goverments/commissioners do
"Herman Van Rompuy, who chaired the talks, said the momentum was building up towards proposals at the next summit at the end of June on deepening economic and monetary union." And Cameron is going to fight a financial transaction tax "all the way". Yea, right. ""It is right that we set out our views," he said. Sorry Dave, you need to be doing a darn sight more than just setting out "our views" if indeed they are ours at all. You need to be stating in no uncertain terms that the UK will do what is best for the UK. It is what we require of you.
There is so much talk and no action. All of the meetings last year between Merkell and Sarkozy produced not one single idea. The conferences have been no better. All they did was suggest new rules for Eurozone nations to follow, forgetting that the old rules were swept aside to get as many countries into the Eurozone as possible. Political considerations triumphed over economic realities. Really, it is high time that we were given a vote on whether we want to saty in the EU or not. The organisation is undemocratic, bureaucratic and only loved by politicians and officials.
Yes, that's the reality of it.
enough is enough of Mr Cameron
"The End-Time is here" says the column on the right-hand side of my screen. If that is true, all this Euro-waffle/twaddle is laughably futile.
I think all euro countries prospered better when they had their own currencies. Tourism in Greece and Spain particularly suffered when they changed to the single currency. Take a leaf out of Britains book. Remember the days of value holidays in Spain and Greece? We can still have common bonds in Europe. Also regulate the banks, they have too much freedom . Bonuses should be given when deserved and bad decisions sholuld be accountable. Go back in time life in Europe was better then!
With 27 countries all with their own agenda do you expect anything else problem with running anything by commitee is that no one take responsibility and then you get a mess like this
All talk, we can all do that.. no action... who pays for these so called summits, use the money for something worthwhile.... meals, accomodation, it all costs and the flights to and fro, money wasting europe..it makes my blood boil, we sit back and let the politicians feed their fat back sides while we suffer, whats the saying keep the masses poor..
theres only one mantra for goverment turn the screws on its people its suposed to represent and look good and important at the same time.
Cameron is not a real Prime Minister because he is very rarely in his country. At least twice a week he either goes to Europe or any where else in the World. He has probably flown around the world in the last 2 years about 120 times, flying business or first class with his ministers and guards and staying in 5 star hotels. We pay for everything and he wants the whole population to stay at home and not go abroad on holiday. In fact all Ministers do the same and it costs us billions. He is giving 1.1 billion to India, but they say that at least 10 people per week become millionaires and our aid is ridiculous. He is cutting loads of money in the UK but giving billions on overseas aid.
About time Cameron grew a pair a did something for the UK - I fear just more hot air from him
Is it not about time we came out of the so called Eurpean Union? It is just another freebee for Cameloon .The torys took us into Europe so let them get us out.This country would be better off if they did.
When I saw that title "Enough is enough says Camaroon" I thought you was stepping down imagine my dissapointment when I read this and it's about the doomed Euro.
Who would you like to step in then? The Party for the non-working class?
the eurozone is bankrupt so let them be bankrupt and start again? so germany looses a few pounds, where did they get the money to re-build after the war?? all the rich countries are the same. hope that grease default and look after thier people instead of the leaches hanging on them. as for cameroon we aint in the eurozone so what you doin there?
The sooner we get out of european union .The better for all of us ,we dont have to give them millons of pounds .No more people getting in .And send all that are here back to where they came from .Will save millons on benifitts and our hospitals would be better . Dave
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We've never had so many crisis since joing the ECM.We'd better decide something very soon or else it's curtains for everyone.The song is YOoooooooo!!