The leaders of the 27 European Union countries meet in the last days of Belgium's 6-month presidency with a list of stated priorities and worries about several crisis-stricken member countries. The list includes financial sustainability, high unemployment and the unpredictability of global commodity prices. The leaders are also expected to be deciding on tweaks to the Lisbon Treaty. The changes will be aimed at establishing a permanent crisis mechanism to safeguard the financial stability of the euro area.
In late November, a financial crisis in the Irish Republic caused grave consternation in the bloc for fears the contagion would spread to other financially vulnerable countries, such as Portugal and Spain. Pressure has eased somewhat with Ireland's acceptance of emergency funds, and Spain's announcement on Dec 1 of further reforms to improve its public finances. The bloc has set tougher state aid rules for banks in 2011, a measure directed at its list of priorities.As reported by Reuters on Dec 1, crisis-hit banks seeking state aid will have to overhaul their operations as part of a strategy to wean them off state support. ; The leaders reluctantly agreed to reopen the controversial Lisbon Treaty at their October summit. France and Germany called for a "limited" redrafting of the treaty, which has only been in force for 11 months. Amendments would specifically target a clause banning eurozone members from bailing out one another. The bloc aimed to press its agenda at November's G20 and United Nations Climate Change meetings. The outcome at both meetings will be a main course at the December summit. In a recent statement, the bloc said it will emphasize in Seoul the need to keep markets open and to adopt a growth-oriented development agenda.
EU exec welcomes new Spanish reform measures (Reuters 1 Dec 2010)http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSBRU01118020101201
EU sets tougher state aid rules for banks next year (Reuters 1 Dec 2010)http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSTRE6b027U20101201
EU Leaders back reforms in euro area (Europa 29 Oct 2010)http://europe.eu/news/index_en.htm
E.U. Suspends Case Against France for Expulsions of Roma (NYT 19 Oct 2010)
Date written/update: 2010-12-16