BRUSSELS (MNI) – European Council President Herman Van Rompuy
Wednesday called for a summit of Eurozone heads of state and government
to be held in Brussels March 11, a spokeswoman in Van Rompuy’s office
The special summit had been expected since February 4, when Van
Rompuy announced following the EU summit that day that he would convene
a meeting only for Eurozone leaders. Another summit of all 27 EU nations
is scheduled for March 24-25.
That latter date is a kind of informal deadline some leaders have
set for themselves to agree on a comprehensive package of measures to
address the sovereign debt crisis in Europe. It is expected to include
strengthened monitoring and enforcement of fiscal rules, introduction of
new guidelines or rules for increased competitiveness, and an increase
in the lending capability and overall mandate of Europe’s bailout fund,
the European Financial Stability Facility.
However, it emerged at the February 4 summit that EU leaders are
still far apart on a number of measures, including German plans for
harmonization of rules governing retirement, corporate tax rates, budget
balancing and wage policies. There is also considerable resistance,
especially in Germany, to a plan — favored by the ECB — that would
authorize the EFSF to buy government bonds or lend money to countries so
they can buy back their own bonds, presumably at a discount.
The interim summit on March 11 is intended to hammer out some of