BRUSSELS (Reuters) – France and Italy won support for a slightly more growth-friendly interpretation of European Union budget rules at a summit on Thursday after French President Francois Hollande challenged German-driven fiscal austerity.
The 27 EU leaders agreed, after debating how to overcome mass unemployment and recession unleashed by three years of the euro zone’s sovereign debt crisis, to allow greater leeway for public investment when reducing government deficits.
BRUSSELS (Reuters) – EU and IMF officials planned to work on a rescue package for Cyprus through the night in Brussels with the aim of presenting the outline of a bailout program to euro zone finance experts on Friday morning, sources said.
The package is expected to contain a mixture of tax increases, one-off revenue raising measures, plans for privatizations and the overhaul of Cyprus’s banking sector to ensure that funding for the bailout is sustainable.
BRUSSELS (Reuters) – A defiant Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban dismissed criticism that changes his government has made to the constitution are anti-democratic, saying there was no evidence of any breach of European Union rules.
The EU, the United States and human rights organizations have accused Orban of using constitutional amendments to limit the powers of Hungary’s top court and undermine democracy in the former Soviet satellite. The move follows steps last year to change Hungary’s media laws and the retirement ages of judges.
BRUSSELS, March 14 (Reuters) – French President Francois
Hollande raised the prospect of a showdown with Germany at a
European summit on Thursday, calling for more room in budgets to
help stimulate growth, a challenge to Berlin’s faith in tight
Arriving at the two-day meeting, where discussion will focus
on economic policy and the social fallout from three years of
debt crisis, Hollande said it was essential that governments had
enough budget flexibility to kick-start growth with spending.
BRUSSELS (Reuters) – European leaders gathered in Brussels on Thursday, for once under little financial market pressure, with differences over austerity and how best to tackle the social costs of the debt crisis set to dominate.
The two-day summit will give EU leaders a chance to discuss budget policies, with signs that France, Spain and Portugal could be given more time to meet their deficit goals as long as they maintain a debt-cutting trend.
BRUSSELS/AMSTERDAM (Reuters) – Cyprus should get an international bailout closer to 10 billion euros than the bigger figures that have been widely reported, the leader of the euro finance ministers’ group said on Wednesday.
The 17 Eurogroup ministers will meet on Friday in Brussels after an EU leaders’ summit to discuss financial help for Cyprus, officials say.
BRUSSELS, March 13 (Reuters) – Soaring unemployment and
biting austerity will top the agenda at a summit of EU leaders
starting on Thursday, with the social consequences of the
region’s debt crisis now seen as the greatest threat to the
survival of the single currency.
The president of the European Parliament, the EU’s only
directly elected body, warned this week that a generation risked
losing faith in Europe unless rapid steps are taken to tackle
joblessness and recession.
BRUSSELS/AMSTERDAM (Reuters) – The euro zone’s 17 finance ministers will meet on Friday in Brussels after an EU leaders’ summit to discuss a financial bailout of Cyprus, officials said on Wednesday, signaling growing momentum for a deal.
The meeting, which follows a mission by the troika of international lenders to Cyprus, raises expectations that the euro zone is close to sealing a package of aid that the Mediterranean island asked for last June.
BRUSSELS (Reuters) – Hungary’s decision to change its constitution and limit the power of its top court is a forthright challenge to the European Union, and the uncomfortable truth in Brussels is that little can be done to rein Budapest in quickly.
The Hungarian parliament, dominated by supporters of Prime Minister Viktor Orban, has voted overwhelmingly for a set of constitutional amendments that opponents, including the EU, the U.S. government and human rights groups, fear will undermine the country’s 24-year-old democracy.
BRUSSELS (Reuters) – Europe has spent hundreds of billions of euros rescuing its banks but may have lost an entire generation of young people in the process, the president of the European Parliament said.
Since the region’s debt crisis erupted in Greece in late 2009, the European Union has created complex rescue mechanisms to prop up distressed countries and their shaky banking sectors, setting aside a total of 700 billion euros.