Bloomberg News

EU’s Van Rompuy Sees Anti-Crisis Progress, Rules Out ‘Quick Fix’

January 24, 2012

(For more on Europe’s sovereign-debt crisis, see EXT4.)

Jan. 24 (Bloomberg) -- European Union governments are restoring faith in the euro step by step, even if the pace isn’t fast enough to satisfy markets that move “at the click of a mouse,” EU President Herman Van Rompuy said.

“There is no quick fix and the path will be long and arduous,” Van Rompuy, who will host the EU’s next summit on Jan. 30, said in his annual report released in Brussels today. “Raising expectations of a solve-it-all summit is not helpful. The work will take further time and more meetings in the year ahead.”

Van Rompuy, who is up for reappointment to a second 2 ½- year term in July, said a 2012 priority is the “deepening of our economic union” that better intertwines national policies and makes clear that the euro is an “irreversible project.”

While defending the handling of the crisis, he said the policy of pushing bondholders to provide debt relief was a mistake that won’t be repeated once the “unique case” of Greece has been dealt with.

Van Rompuy said there is little space for governments to spur the economy by boosting spending or cutting taxes. He urged “structural economic reforms” at national level and a widening of Europe’s single market to promote competitiveness.

“As the fiscal situation in many member states is tight, stimulating growth through deficit spending is not the solution,” he said. “Yet we can still do much.”

--Editors: Jones Hayden, Patrick Henry

To contact the reporter on this story: James G. Neuger in Brussels at jneuger@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: James Hertling at jhertling@bloomberg.net


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