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EU leaders seek to heal rifts as euro deadline looms

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EU leaders seek to heal rifts as euro deadline looms

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Despite the smiles the deadline to once and for all find a solution to the euro zone’s debt crisis looms large over Europe’s leaders. After some progress on Sunday Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel and France’s President Nicolas Sarkozy agreed to another summit in Brussels on Wednesday.

It follows the dressing down of Italy’s Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, who was told bluntly to come back in three days time with a more credible plan to get to grips with his country’s towering debt.

While Merkel and Sarkozy’s exasperation with Italy was all to clear, the French president also found himself at odds with Britain’s David Cameron. Sarkozy told the UK prime minister to stop meddling after Cameron said all EU countries should be involved in crisis talks, not only those in the euro zone. The spat once again highlighted divisions in the bloc on what powers should go to Brussels.

With France and Germany also looking for a show of unity following their recent row over Europe’s bail-out fund, our correspondent in Brussels Andrei Beketov says: ‘‘This twin summit began by looking at ways to shore up the relatively small Greek economy. In the end one of its main tasks will be to fix the cracks appearing between the EU’s biggest member states.’‘

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“There are many people whos say: ‘we need more integration now’. But what they really mean is more control! Ingeration used to be symetric: everybody gives up a little bit of sovereignty but everybody then participates in the joint decisions. Right now this is not the case: right now the creditors – Germany, Finland, Netherlands… – they dictate the conditions to the others. That’s not really integration!”

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‘‘This twin held summit began by looking at ways to shore up the relatively small Greek economy. In the end its main task will be to fix the cracks appearing between the EU’s biggest member states.’‘