Euro, Bulgaria, Serbia Hold Breath for Vital EU SummitBulgaria in EU | December 8, 2011, Thursday // 09:20| views
European Union leaders are assembling in Brussels Thursday evening for a seminal European Council set to broker a deal to implement radical new measures to safeguard the financial stability of the eurozone.
Monday German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Nicolas Sarkozy reached an agreement of the outline of the measures, which include changes in the EU Treaties to impose automatic sanctions in case of breach of budget deficit ceilings, as well as boosting the eurozone's defense mechanisms.
Sarkozy has argued that the debt crisis mandates no less than a "re-founding of the EU" and a new treaty, while Merkel has been more minimalistic in arguing for amendments to the current Lisbon Treaty.
European Council President Herman van Rompuy is expected to argue for protocols to be appended to the Lisbon Treaty to avoid the cumbersome procedure of treaty revision and act quick to rescue the eurozone.
On his part, UK PM David Cameron has said that Britain will block all such innovations, unless its interests as a member state not using the euro are safeguarded, as well as if the interests of the financial services sector are not harmed.
Other topics on the agenda of the European Council, set to be officially launched Friday morning, include the eventual Schengen membership of Bulgaria and Romania. A date is not expected to be given for joining, but EU institutions and member states hope to exert pressure on the Netherlands, which still opposes the inclusion of the two newcomers.
Serbia also has hopes set on the European Council, as waits to see whether it will be given the official status of candidate for EU membership. The case is far from settled, with EU institutions being supportive, but some member states, including Germany, arguing that Serbia must first do more in the dialogue with breakaway province of Kosovo.
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