European leaders ended their informal summit in Brussels with a message of support for Greece and a collective wish the country should remain within the eurozone.
But at the same time the bloc’s members have been advised to prepare contingency plans in case Athens decides to quit the single currency.
It meant President of the European Council, Herman Van Rompuy offered a qualified show of support for Greece with a warning it must stick by its side of the bargain.
“The eurozone has shown considerable solidarity having already disbursed, together with the IMF (International Monetary Fund) nearly 150bn euros in support of Greece since 2010.”
France’s newly elected president at his first EU summit made a stand against German dominance. Francois Hollande raised the hotly contested issue of shared eurozone debt through eurobonds – something Gemany’s chancellor continues to resist.
“I respect the views of Mme Merkel, when she says, Eurobonds are not an instrument of growth, as such, but they are an instrument which may allow growth under certain conditions, so that debate that will continue,” said President Hollande.
After nearly six hours of talks, ideas to promote growth and create jobs were discussed but not consensus reached except for a plan to raise capital via project bonds for infrastructures.
Euronews reporter Rudolph Herbert said:
“Decisions will be taken at the next summit in June. After a very long evening, we can say there are huge differences concerning a lot of subjects and that the debate will be hotting up in the weeks to come.“