BRUSSELS (Reuters) - European Union leaders met on Wednesday to discuss a comprehensive plan for tackling the euro zone’s sovereign debt crisis.
The meeting of leaders from the 27 EU member states was followed by a summit of the 17-nation single currency area.
Following are comments from leaders after the full EU meeting, before the euro zone talks:
“I had the impression all partners understand that we need enhanced integration, not only at the level of the Eurogroup but at the level of the whole European Union.”
“The key issue was the issue of high quality capital, the 9 percent ratio that was adopted that we need to maintain this ratio. And we also adopted certain elements of the way we should proceed to attain this goal. An emotional element during this debate, was the fact of making this exceptional circumstance and not permanent element... so this will not be a permanent solution for the future.”
”We made good progress tonight. It is very much in Britain’s interest that we sort out these problems and solve this crisis.
“We made good progress on the bank recapitalization. That wasn’t watered down, it has now been agreed. It will only go ahead when the other parts of a full package go ahead and further progress on that needs to happen tonight.”
Following are comments from earlier, ahead of the EU leaders’ meeting:
“I understand there has been some progress made in a number of areas, but clearly leaders of the euro zone will have their own individual points to put up here. As I said, the important thing here that the fully flexibility of the facilities that were approved be used now to bring certainty, and certainty of intent, for everybody, from both the (European) Council and the euro zone in particular.”
“The wish is to come up with a voluntary haircut, I think that is right, but until that is negotiated we can’t announce it. It’s still open.”
“We always said 40-50 percent is part of the negotiations but we have to be fair because we don’t know what the counterparties would ask for that.”
”The other issue is to improve the way the rescue fund is used. To make it strong enough that it would last for a few months or years would be an elementary step forward. If we always have to call summits against the background of a crisis it doesn’t create a lot of trust.
“I‘m very much in favor of making better use of the rescue fund and giving it more bearing capacity.”
”We need a real solution, we won’t buy anything with mediocre compromises. Some things really need to happen.
”We need today to talk about Greece and ensure that Greek debt is sustainable and that we’re finally finished with this business. We must talk about the banks and how they get through this difficult phase.
“We must ensure that this bazooka, the European rescue fund, is strong enough to show the market that we mean it. We also have to make sure this can’t happen in the future. We need strong supervision and live up to our promises.”
“We are in this job to take decisions. It’s not easy, but it really has to happen.”
“I think we will have a solution for Greece. It is very important to ask for a voluntary effort by the banks to reduce Greece’s debt. It is also an effort through the EFSF to make credit accessible at reasonable rates for Greece.”
“I think it is work that advances step-by-step. But the step we are going to take today or tonight is a very important step toward a total restoration of the confidence in the euro zone.”
“It’s an economic union in the making so it does not yet have the firepower it should have, but we’re taking steps forward. Let’s hope for tonight.”
“Let’s hope we succeed in giving (the EFSF) enough convincing firepower. It’s one of the two to three most important points we still have to tackle.”
“I think that in effect we would need to be a whole bit above 1,000 billion euros.”
”Our challenge today is not simply to save the euro. It is to safeguard the ideas we cherish so much in Europe: Peace and cooperation amongst our nations, social cohesion and solidarity without prejudice amongst our people.
”From our side the Greek people are making a superhuman effort to put our house in order, to make our economy confident, viable, prosperous and create a better future for the Greek people, for our country.
“Now is the time for the European leadership to collectively take decisions to end the uncertainty, end the crisis, turn the page and make sure we make a big step forward for the better future and prosperity and security of our peoples in Europe.”
EUROGROUP PRESIDENT AND LUXEMBOURG‘S PRIME MINISTER
“Our Italian friends know well that we have to assume that we will be informed this evening that there will be significant, structural (budget) consolidation efforts from Italy. That is a must.”
“I think that if we make our decisions in such a way that they work under pressure, then we will have made the right decisions.”
Reporting by Robert-Jan Bartunek, Philip Blenkinsop, Jan Strupczewski, Robin Emmott, Daniel Flynn, John O'Donnell, Christopher Le Coq and David Brunnstrom