EU summit to focus on 'jobs and growth'

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The upcoming summit of EU leaders will focus on "delivering jobs and growth for Europe," Greece's foreign minister has said.

Speaking at a meeting of the General Affairs Council on 18 March 2014, Evangelos Venizelos said he wanted the the improving economic performance of the eurozone to lead to Greece "regaining the status of a normal European country once again".

The General Affairs Council meets once a month and brings together foreign ministers - or specifically Europe ministers - from all 28 EU countries.

It generally deals with policies that affect more than one EU policy, such as enlargement, the budget, or administrative issues.

It is also used to prepare the ground for the European Council meetings - made up of all EU leaders - that generally take place four times a year in Brussels.

Greece was particularly badly hit by the debt crisis that swept the eurozone in recent years, and had debt levels of 113% of GDP, leading to a multi-billion euro bailout.

The March summit is generally used to discuss economic issues, but it is expected that heads of government will also discuss the ongoing situation in Ukraine.

Mr Venizelos said "I am not in a position to predict what any decision of the European Council might be, but our principle is the same - we are ready to participate in a constructive political dialogue".

A referendum in Crimea at the weekend - deemed to be illegal by the EU - saw an overwhelming majority of voters back a proposal for Crimea to leave Ukraine and join Russia.

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