Van Rompuy wants to stay at EU helm

Updated: 2011-09-07 07:52

By Fu Jing (China Daily)

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BRUSSELS - European Council President Herman van Rompuy will seek another term to help shape sound economic governance and revive the European economy, which is now losing momentum.

Van Rompuy, whose first two-and-a-half-year term will expire in May 2012, expressed his intention during his ongoing tour of France, Finland, Germany and the United Kingdom, during which he is coordinating with European politicians on how to deal with the worsening debt crisis.

According to a report on Tuesday in the Irish Independent newspaper, Van Rompuy announced he is willing to take on the "unfinished" eurozone debt crisis with new powers setting up an "economic government" in Brussels.

"Because the work is not finished, I do not rule out a second mandate," Van Rompuy, the former Belgian prime minister, said on Monday. "I would not do it for personal glory."

Germany and France earlier proposed to have Van Rompuy as president of the eurozone to help realize the sound growth of the member countries.

During his meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Monday evening, Van Rompuy said that further political pressure still needs to be applied to Greece and Italy to slash their debt levels.

His comments came after Merkel said that leaving Greece out of the eurozone would not be an option. She said Greece must impose the austerity and restructuring measures that are a condition of the bailout, or Athens will not receive its latest tranche of rescue funds.

Following his meeting with Finnish Prime Minister Jyrki Katainen on Monday, Van Rompuy said the EU is committed to finding a solution to the issue of collateral for the loans to Greece as agreed at the Eurozone Summit on July 21.

"Good progress is being made, and I'm confident we will find an agreement soon," said Van Rompuy.

"Of course, we expect Greece also to deliver on all its commitments as to the strict implementation of the reforms agreed with the EU."

A joint European Commission, International Monetary Fund and European Central Bank mission has been discussing recent economic developments and reviewing policy implementation in the context of the fifth review of Greece's economic program.

In its statement issued last week, the mission said it had temporarily left Athens to allow the authorities to complete technical work related to the 2012 budget and growth-enhancing structural reforms.

The mission expects to return to Athens by mid-September, when they expect the Greek authorities to have completed the technical work, to continue discussions on policies needed to complete the review.

On Wednesday, Van Rompuy is scheduled to meet British Prime Minister David Cameron and Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg. He will also give a speech at the London School of Economics on lessons for the future of the eurozone.

China Daily

(China Daily 09/07/2011 page11)


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