Berlin sees 'challenging', 'difficult' talks at EU summit

7th December 2011, Comments 0 comments

Negotiations at the forthcoming EU summit, seen as the last chance to save the euro, are expected to be hard, a spokesman for German Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Wednesday.

"From the German point of view, there is also a very challenging agenda for this summit ... we are expecting very challenging and occasionally very difficult talks," the spokesman, Steffen Seibert, told a regular briefing.

Seibert said that Germany was travelling to Brussels with the desire for a "new legal framework" for the EU as a response to the eurozone debt crisis that has threatened to tip the bloc into a recession.

Earlier on Wednesday, a government source who insisted on anonymity, poured cold water on hopes for a deal at the summit, saying he had become "more pessimistic" in recent weeks for a "total agreement" at the gathering.

This source said that "several partners have not yet understood the gravity of the situation" facing the EU, one day before the make-or-break summit.

Germany, along with France, has insisted on heightened budgetary discipline in the EU as an answer to the crisis, plus automatic punishment for member states that break the rules.

Berlin and Paris want to see changes to the EU treaty to enshrine such fiscal austerity but the head of the European Council of leaders, Herman Van Rompuy has said the alterations could be achieved without treaty changes.

© 2011 AFP

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