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EU leaders in Brussels set out agenda for bloc

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EU leaders in Brussels set out agenda for bloc


EU heads of state have committed themselves to a path of economic reforms in the coming year, a path they they hope will lead the eurozone out of crisis.

At the end of the year-ending summit in Brussels they also spoke of efforts to make progress on a number of key areas.

“We want the security and defence policy as a whole to become more effective,” said Herman Van Rompuy, the European Council President.

“This includes also a civilian capabilities, very important aspect, as well a more systematic cooperation among EU member states on defence capabilities.”

“We also want to see a stronger defence industry in Europe which will contribute to more innovation and competitiveness and to more growth and employment across our Union.”

And he added, “So in practical terms, we have invited a high representative as well as the Commission to develop proposals and report on them at the latest by september 2013.”

A deal on banking supervision – seen as an essential reform for the survival of the euro – was one of the main achievements.

José Manuel Barroso, the European Commission President focussed on some of the other positive achievements:

“We are tackling the crisis, we have a long term vision for our Union. This week was a good week for Europe, not only the Nobel Peace Prize – that means a lot to us – but also, in more concrete terms, a very important agreement on the SSM (single supervisory mechanism) and on Greece.”

That agreement releases long-delayed bailout funds to Athens.

But the problems of Greece and the eurozone will remain top of the to-do last as Cyprus passes on the presidency of the EU to Ireland.

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