The To-Do List at the Crunch EU Summit
Brussels. With the world watching, European Union leaders will try to deliver a convincing response to the debt crisis at a summit on Thursday and Friday.
Here is their to-do list, which will also touch on the EU budget, foreign affairs and EU enlargement:
The summit begins at 1300 GMT with the EU parliament president taking part in a debate on the EU’s next common budget for the period between 2014-2020.
A group of pro-austerity governments led by Germany and Britain are fighting the EU parliament’s demand for an increase in the 27-nation bloc’s spending.
—The EU leaders will examine a “compact for growth and jobs” aimed at countering record unemployment and an economic downturn, a deal pushed by French President Francois Hollande to offset German-led austerity.
The leaders of Germany, France, Italy and Spain have put forward a plan to inject up to 130 billion euros ($170 billion) into the euro zone economy, around 1.0 of European GDP.
The pact includes a proposal to raise the capital base of the European Investment Bank by 10 billion euros in order to boost its financing capability, and another to issue joint “project bonds” to fund infrastructure projects.
– During dinner, the heads of state and government will tackle grand plans to tighten the economic and monetary union, a sealing of bonds being seen as crucial by markets nervous about the euro zone’s future.
EU president Herman Van Rompuy will present a report drafted with the heads of the European Central Bank, European Commission and Eurogroup, to create a banking union and increasingly centralise control over budgets.
The talks are tipped to run late into the night, but the summit is only expected to agree on a roadmap to be finalized at another summit at the end of the year.
— EU leaders regroup in the morning to discuss non-economic matters and adopt the summit’s conclusions.
They are expected to agree to open membership talks with Montenegro as part of the EU’s eastern expansion. They will also discuss asylum policy and proposals to overhaul the Schengen passport-free travel area.
With the violence in Syria showing no signs of abating, EU leaders are expected to adopt a statement condemning the regime’s attacks against civilians and renew their support for the peace plan of UN-Arab League envoy Kofi Annan.
— At lunch, the heads of the 10 EU nations that do not use the euro leave while the euro zone’s 17 leaders stay back to look at how to contain the latest problems in the spiralling debt crisis.
ECB president Mario Draghi joins the talks, which will partly focus on banking rescues requested by Spain and Cyprus, the fourth and fifth euro zone nations to appeal for help since 2010, after Greece, Ireland and Portugal.