With 27 different national leaders and 27 differing opinions it is becoming painfully clear that the meeting was nothing but a talking shop filled with hot air. The French, Spanish and Irish all pleaded the case for the issuance of Eurobonds, the Germans and Austrians flatly refused to discuss the matter.
Many observers are calling the meeting an unequivocal failure, but a failure that was very much expected. The leaders spoke for six hours and still no decisions were made, those have been put off until yet another summit at the end of June.
Does Europe have the time to waste?
The Greek issue was not formally part of the agenda which in itself is ridiculous as Greece is arguably the most pressing dilemma facing the Eurozone at the moment. There was no new strategy to stop Greece leaving if it votes for candidates in the forthcoming election who oppose the austerity measures that are the condition for the bailouts.
European Council president Herman Van Rompuy said;”We want Greece to remain in the euro area while respecting its commitments,” he told a news conference.
“The Eurozone has shown considerable solidarity having already disbursed, together with the IMF (International Monetary Fund) nearly 150bn Euros (£120bn; $188bn) in support of Greece since 2010.”
Greece’s caretaker Prime Minister Panagiotis Pikrammenos said “almost every” EU state had shown support for his country at the summit.
After the meeting the EU leaders issued a statement saying; “We discussed the political and economic situation in Greece. We want Greece to remain in the euro area while respecting its commitments. We are fully aware of the significant efforts already made by the Greek citizens.
The euro zone has shown considerable solidarity, having already disbursed together with the IMF nearly €150bn Euros in support of Greece since 2010. We will ensure that European structural funds and instruments are mobilised to bring Greece on a path towards growth and job creation. Continuing the vital reforms to restore debt sustainability, foster private investment and reinforce its institutions is the best guarantee for a more prosperous future in the euro area.
We expect that after the elections, the new Greek Government will make that choice.”
Such a statement has raised a few eyebrows amongst observers and citizens across the EU. It is difficult to see how the EU leaders can be so confident of the Greek people voting to stay in the zone.
In effect Greece is a nation with a gun held to its head, either they toe the EU line or they will be cast out and face economic collapse. Either option is undesirable for the average Greek citizen.
The Pound to Euro exchange rate is currently trading at 1.247
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