Although debt is still very much on the agenda for EU leaders meeting at the latest summit in Brussels, they are turning their attention to growth as a possible way out of the crisis.
On Friday, the delegates will sign a fiscal pact aimed at avoiding a repetition of the disastrous debt problems that have plagued Greece, Ireland and Portugal.
“The tax agreement is unilateral – you cannot just cut budgets”, said European Parliament President Martin Schulz. “We also need to set goals and investment strategies, because otherwise we won’t create growth and jobs.”
EU leaders also re-affirmed their confidence in Herman Van Rompuy by electing him to a second term as President of the European Council on Thursday. But not everyone is happy.
This is what Nigel Farage of the UK Independence Party had to say: “He has directly been involved in the removal, in Greece and Italy, of elected prime ministers and their replacement by puppet prime ministers. In fact, in many ways, he has been far worse than even I thought he was going to be, and believe you me, his dress sense has not improved one bit.”
But the leaders will have more important things on their mind than Van Rompuy’s dress style. Latest figures show that across the 17-country euro zone, unemployment stands at 10.7 percent, the highest level since the single currency was introduced in 1999.