Germany is facing stiff resistance from France to ease back on austerity as Europe’s leaders gather in Brussels for another EU summit.
French President François Hollande has called for the emphasis to shift to boosting growth in indebted eurozone economies.
All this, while his government looks set to miss its EU-mandated deficit target of three percent of GDP this year.
Voters have ousted a number of EU leaders over tough spending cuts, including Italy’s Mario Monti.
“I will speak to my colleagues knowing that I am participating for the last time at an EU summit. I will invite them to reflect on the Italian case in a positive and in a negative manner,” he told reporters.
Europe’s austerity policies received renewed criticism from Nobel Prize-winning economist Paul Krugman last week, who traded barbs with EU officials over spending cuts which he says has left the European economy in “disastrous shape.”
But ministers warn countries must honour their obligations.
Irish Minister for European Affairs Lucinda Creighton told euronews: “I think that the targets have to be met: we have to reduce the debt burden and we have to ensure that the gap between expenditures and revenues is closed.”