European leaders are holding their 17th summit in two years as the bloc battles to resolve its sovereign debt problems.
In Brussels 26 of the 27 members are expected to sign up to a fiscal treaty including a balanced budget rule written into constitutions. However Britain will not be included as its government has rejected the move.
Then there is the creation of a permanent rescue fund. Everyone is expected to sign a treaty creating the European Stability Mechanism – which is due to become operational in July.
In a bid to tackle the bloc’s rising unemployment numbers the summit wants to focus on creating jobs and growth. Leaders are likely to announce up to 20 billion euros of unused funds from previous budget years that will be redirected towards job creation especially among the young.
But over shadowing everything is the continuing Greek crisis. Negotiations between Athens and private investors over the restructuring of 200 billion euros of Greek debt are at last making progress. The EU is waiting for the deal before it will handover a second critical tranche of bailout funds.