Euro zone leaders to meet briefly on Thursday: diplomats

Reuters News
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Posted: Feb 28, 2012 4:53 AM
Euro zone leaders to meet briefly on Thursday: diplomats

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - The euro zone's 17 leaders will meet briefly during a summit of all 27 EU leaders on Thursday to reelect Herman Van Rompuy as president of the European Council, EU diplomats said on Tuesday.

The meeting will take place during a dinner on the first day of the March 1-2 summit, one of the officials said.

There had been expectations of a separate summit of euro zone leaders on Friday, after the main EU meeting, to discuss Greece and boosting the euro zone's firewall to fight the debt crisis, but it was never officially put on the agenda.

"It wasn't cancelled because it was never officially on the agenda," said a second diplomat. "There will instead be a mini-summit of euro zone leaders during the dinner on Thursday."

He said the issue of firewalls - the idea of combining the resources in the euro zone's temporary EFSF bailout fund with those in the permanent fund to create a 750 billion euro super-facility - would be discussed later in March.

Germany is opposed to discussing the firewall issue at the summit, although it has committed to discussing next month.

Those discussions could either take place at a meeting of euro zone finance ministers on March 12 or at another summit of euro zone leaders if one is convened.

Herman Van Rompuy was elected as president of the European Council, which represents EU member states and makes him responsible for calling and chairing EU summits, at the end of 2009 for a 2-1/2-year term.

As well as being reconfirmed in that role for a second and final term, he will also be confirmed as president of euro zone heads of state, capable of calling and chairing meetings focused on those countries that share the single European currency.

(Writing by Luke Baker)