David Cameron calls for a “lasting solution” to the eurozone crisis arguing for a sweeping change of policy priorities to deliver growth across Europe – but without giving up on austerity.
The latest EU summit in Brussels ended after more than six hours with declarations of renewed pledges on austerity coupled with growth.
There was also 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”.
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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 17 June.