European Union leaders have met for the first time since voters stunned several member nations with their support for populist and far-right parties.
At an informal summit in Brussels after the recent parliamentary elections, the 28 have agreed to look at ways of winning back public confidence.
They have charged European Council President Herman Van Rompuy to come up with a list of policies which they hope will counter support for the eurosceptics.
“As the Union emerges from the financial crisis it needs a positive and future-oriented agenda of growth, competitiveness and jobs. We need a well-functioning and more developed economic and monetary union, while preserving the unity of the Union as such,” said the European Council President.
The leaders also want a say in the appointment of the next Commission President.
Former Luxembourg premier Jean-Claude Juncker might well expect the job, as candidate for the biggest parliamentary party, but opposition from the UK and other states has triggered a call for a wider choice.
Euronews correspondent James Franey said:
“German Chancellor Angela Merkel was less than enthusiastic when she was asked to endorse the former PM of Luxembourg to take over at the EU executive. If leaders and the European Parliament can’t strike a compromise deal over the next few weeks, it could spell the start of a bitter row here in Brussels…at a time when voters are urging governments to do more to fix the economy.”