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Questions on troubled Spain expected at EU summit

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Questions on troubled Spain expected at EU summit


Much of the discussion at the upcoming EU summit will focus on an interim report on strengthening economic and monetary union.

As heads of state meet with EU officials in Brussels on Thursday and Friday, agreement on how to move forward remains an issue.

“Certainly the question of eurobonds, the collectivisation of debt in any form, is still something which has to be discussed and the German government is still very reluctant to go in that direction,” said analyst from the European Policy Centre Fabian Zuleeg.

The wider economic issues will be joined by the big question of whether or not Madrid will formally request a bailout, perhaps needing the European Central Bank to step in and buy Spanish government bonds.

German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble is backing the creation of super-commissioner to oversee member countries’ budgets as a way to tackling the debt crisis. Ahead of the summit, Schäuble told reporters that he had spoken to German Chancellor Angela Merkel about the idea, however she is “somewhat more cautious”.

However, even if this idea gains more support, the scope of this appointment’s powers would also have to be worked out, according to Zuleeg.

“The idea of having some stronger power at the center which can enforce budgetary discipline by itself is a good starting point, but I think we have a question in how far it should go and have influence on fiscal discipline.

“I think we also have to look at what we can do at the European level to encourage growth in the crisis countries, how we can actually can make the economies work better,” said Zuleeg.

There is speculation the 17 euro zone leaders could even hold a further separate meeting during the summit on pressing issues regarding the debt crisis.

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