No re-negotiation of budgetary pact: Barroso
(BRUSSELS) - The head of the European Commission said Wednesday that there would be no re-negotiation of a pact that would oblige 25 EU states to aim for balanced budgets.
Asked whether there could be a re-negotiation of the fiscal treaty, as demanded by incoming French president Francois Hollande, Jose Manuel Barroso replied "No."
Barroso was speaking alongside the German Socialist head of the European Parliament, Martin Schulz, who also issued a categorical "no" to the same question.
However, Schulz answered "yes" when asked if there could be an additional economic pact not only concerned with austerity.
Responding to the same question, Barroso replied: "If you mean a political contract: yes."
However, the Commission chief gave an emphatic "no" when asked if such a growth pact would involve measures financed through new debts.
The rejection of Hollande's call to broaden out the fiscal pact with growth measures follows a clear refusal to re-open the treaty issued Monday by Germany's government.
Ireland's government, which is staging a referendum to ratify the treaty on May 31, has said it is not possible to delay its poll.
German government spokesman Steffen Seibert said on Monday that Chancellor Angela Merkel would not accept "deficit spending" to feed economic expansion.
Instead, Berlin is encouraging growth through structural reforms such as reducing the cost of job creation.
However, Seibert said he did not intend to draw red lines before Hollande's first visit to Berlin, expected imminently after he assumes power from President Nicolas Sarkozy, a close Merkel ally, on May 15.
A meeting of European Union leaders has been called for May 23 in Brussels, at which debate on how best to boost growth is expected to feature heavily alongside Greece's political problems and banking woes in Spain.
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