EU support for Greece to remain in the eurozone

Thursday 24 May 2012 17.50
Merkel, Monti and Hollande attend the EU meeting
Merkel, Monti and Hollande attend the EU meeting

European Union leaders have re-iterated that they want Greece to hold onto the euro, as long as it honours its commitments to fiscal consolidation and structural reforms.

The single currency hit a 22-month low against the dollar today following last night's meeting, which continued into the early hours of this morning.

Following the informal summit, Europe's leaders said substantial decisions on growth and jobs are likely to be taken when they meet again in June.

Taoiseach Enda Kenny described the meeting as ''positive'' and said there was momentum on a range of ideas that would culminate in a number of decisions next month.

These involved the development of ''project bonds'', as well as fresh funding for the European Investment Bank.

Mr Kenny said he addressed EU leaders on the referendum campaign and on the initiatives he said had been taken to inform voters of the detail of the treaty.

He said there was strong support in some quarters to having the permanent EU bailout fund (ESM) utilised in order to recapitalise banks.

However, he declined to say whether German Chancellor Angela Merkel would support or rule out such an idea.

Mr Kenny also said there was both support and opposition to the idea of commonly issued euro bonds.

After the summit, European Council President Herman Van Rompuy said they had also discussed Greece and its place in the eurozone.

President of the European Commission José Manuel Barroso said the leaders supported Greece and warned against speculation on what would follow the elections there.

Greece will vote on 17 June in their second general election in just two months, and opinion polls suggest parties opposed to the EU-IMF bailout could form a government.

Speculation has been mounting that Greece could exit the single currency, if Athens refuses to abide by its bailout conditions.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel echoed calls for Greece to remain in the eurozone and to honour the terms of its bailout.

French President Francois Hollande said he was "not aware" that plans were being made by EU officials for the possible exit of Greece from the eurozone, as reported by several news agencies.

He said that France is not considering such a hypothesis, because France wants Greece to remain in the eurozone.

On eurobonds, he said France was not alone in supporting the concept and there had not been any conflict or confrontation over the issue.

Keywords: eu summit, greece