The EU’s top brass are meeting in Brussels in an effort to fix their battered economies and exit Europe’s worst debt crisis in decades.
Defending the euro and preventing contagion from the Greek crisis remains the top priority. That is likely to mean stricter budget rules.
Sanctions for eurozone states which persistently breach deficit limits are also on the agenda, including possible suspension of voting rights.
Leaders also have bankers in their sights.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel said: ‘‘Germany and France agree that those responsible for the financial crisis must also pay.’‘
That could mean a levy on banks to ensure any future bailouts are not funded by the taxpayer.
Spain’s dire deficit also remains a major worry. Leaders are keen to find out what measures Madrid is putting in place to curb its ballooning debt.
Yesterday, the Spanish government announced a series of reforms to shake up the country’s rigid labour laws. But the plan in Spain remains deeply unpopular.
Unemployment currently stands at a record high of 20 per cent and the country’s largest union has vowed to fight the reforms. It has called for a general strike in September.