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Eurozone sets March 11 debt crisis summit

09 February 2011, 19:20 CET
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(BRUSSELS) - The leaders of the 17 nations that share the euro will hold a special summit on March 11 to hammer out a plan of action to prevent future debt crises, EU president Herman Van Rompuy said Wednesday.

Van Rompuy had indicated this week that eurozone heads of state and government would meet in mid-March in order to pave the way for an agreement at a subsequent summit with the European Union's 10 other leaders on March 24-25.

"I invited the heads of state or government of the Euro Area to a summit in Brussels on 11 March in the evening," Van Rompuy wrote on his Twitter page.

Officials originally considered holding the meeting on Sunday March 13, but the date was opposed by a big EU state, a European diplomat close to the talks told AFP.

It is unusual for eurozone leaders to hold their own summit, separate from the rest of the EU, and some non-euro countries, such as Poland, are uncomfortable at seeing euro area leaders meet on their own.

Pummelled by a debt crisis last year that forced multibillion-euro bailouts of Greece and Ireland, the eurozone is seeking ways to shield the single currency from any more crises.

One priority is overhauling a 440-billion-euro (660-billion-dollar) debt emergency fund, which analysts warn may be too small and limited in scope to deal with more financial meltdowns, especially if a big economy like Spain's falls.

France and Germany are also pushing a pact aimed at deepening fiscal and economic coordination between European states in order to ensure that every country in the region walks on a path of stability.

The plan has been criticised by some states concerned about a proposal to abolish inflation-linked wage increases.

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