EU 'discussing changes to treaty', UK PM says


David Cameron: "Greater fiscal and economic integration in the eurozone is inevitable"

UK Prime Minister David Cameron has discussed changes to the European Union's treaty as part of a package to resolve the eurozone debt crisis.

Speaking after European leaders held emergency talks, Mr Cameron said that any change would not be against UK interests.

He gave no details of any changes being considered at the Brussels summit, attended by all 27 heads of EU states.

Another meeting of all the EU countries will be held on Wednesday.

Initially only the 17 countries that use the euro were to meet on Wednesday.

The EU leaders held a summit on Sunday morning amid fears that problems in Greece threaten to spread throughout Europe.

This was followed in the afternoon by a meeting of the 17 eurozone countries.

Mr Cameron told a news conference he believed talks on how to strengthen Europe's banks and to promote economic growth were making progress.

He said that proposals on possible treaty changes could be put forward in December, but that he has "secured a commitment that would protect the interests of the UK".

The prime minister said that Wednesday's meeting, which he would attend, "will give us time to finalise banking recapitalisation and agree a comprehensive policy to put the euro on a more secure footing".

'Decisive and effective'

Before the morning meeting, Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou urged Europe to "act decisively and effectively" to contain the troubles.

"It's been proven now that the crisis is not a Greek crisis," he told reporters. "The crisis is a European crisis. So now is the time that we as Europeans need to act decisively and effectively."

Shortly before the summit began, Italy's Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi held private talks with EU President Herman Van Rompuy, Mrs Merkel, and French President Nicolas Sarkozy.

There is concern that budget cuts passed by the Italian parliament do not go far enough.

The BBC's Europe correspondent Chris Morris said the summit was an indication of how much still needs to be decided.

He said: "Everyone now acknowledges that previous decisions on a second bail-out for Greece are insufficient.

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If you don't want to be scared, turn away now. Italy needs to borrow €250bn next year just to refinance its existing debts. ”

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"Far more of its debt will have to be written off, and that means banks and other financial institutions will have to take a much bigger hit. But how much debt, and how big a hit?"

'Jobs and growth'

The provisional deal agreed by finance ministers will see banks raise more than 100bn euros (£87bn) in new capital to shield them against possible losses to indebted countries.

It is conditional on a wider accord, including a write-down of Greek debt.

BBC business editor Robert Peston said the 100bn euros agreed in the deal will be provided to banks by commercial investors, national governments and the EU's bailout fund.

Speaking after the 10-hour meeting on Saturday, Mr Osborne said: "Britain will keep up pressure in the next few days to a comprehensive package to resolve the European crisis and to make sure that we get jobs and growth."

Debt-laden Greece has been bailed out - twice - along with the Irish Republic and Portugal.

The eurozone is working on a third package for Greece, as well as a solution that could help the much bigger economies of Spain and Italy, which are faltering.


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  • rate this

    Comment number 328.

    Still a bit puzzled Mr Cameron, if the EU pays off the debts of Greece and indeed any ones debt, why won’t they just run it up again, I mean if they can’t balance there books now how will that change in the future, maybe they will start a fresh and then come back in some years when they are back in a mess

  • rate this

    Comment number 323.

    The only solution is for countries in Europe to drop the Euro and go back to their own currencies... this needs to be phased in over a 5-10yr period and then they have control over their own finances instead of some idiot in another country dictating what is done.

  • rate this

    Comment number 263.

    Are they seriously thinking of writing off greek debt? When the UK borrowed massive amounts during ww2, it had to pay it back, taking 50 years....why can these bailouts not be structured to pay back what can be afforded over a long period. The bank wont write of the debts of ordinary people so why should nations be any different?

  • rate this

    Comment number 218.

    I don't think we should be bailing out any country. We must sort our our economic mess before we even attempt to sort out others! We are not even part of the Euro! Ultimately we are sinking our own economy.
    If the Greeks don't want to pay tax to improve their own economy why are they asking for handouts?
    You really cannot help those who cannot help themselves!

  • rate this

    Comment number 103.

    As we chose not to join the Euro why are we helping to bail them out. An aquaintance went to Greece on holiday and any cafe and so on would only take cash in hand, it seems everyones credit card machine was out of order!!! This surely means that no tax is paid so how can Greece pay back any money ti Europe. Its the same when somehere when people will only take cash, isnt this fraud?


Comments 5 of 17


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