The EU summit called by European Union leaders to work out how to spur growth in the debt-stricken eurozone opened on May 23rd in Brussels, Belgium.
European leaders expressed determination to keep Greece in the euro zone early Thursday after a summit meeting and said that, despite a deep divide between France and Germany, they would seek a new European Union “growth pact” designed to stimulate their sagging economies.
As markets plunged and the euro hit a near two-year low on worries over Greece's eurozone future and Spain's troubled banks, leaders were to discuss the possible launch of Eurobonds – jointly pooled eurozone debt – and a tax on financial transactions.
"We have to act straight away for growth," French President Francois Hollande insisted amid deepening worries over Greece's eurozone future and Spain's troubled banks. "Otherwise there will still be doubt on the markets."
"We have no time to waste," the freshly elected Socialist leader stressed at his first EU summit after a cost-conscious train ride from Paris.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel faced pressure to give ground on her hardline austerity doctrine as the European single currency fell to $1.2564 and the London, Frankfurt and Paris stock exchanges each shed well over two percent.
However, she rejected a call by Hollande for eurobonds on the grounds they are "not a contribution to stimulating growth in the eurozone", adding that such instruments ran contrary to EU treaties.
Berlin fears eurobonds would only result in German taxpayers permanently underwriting the public finances of weaker eurozone economies./.