Highlights: European Union leaders' comments ahead of summit

Thu Dec 8, 2011 2:12pm EST
 
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BRUSSELS (Reuters) - European Union leaders gathered on Thursday for a critical two-day summit focused on trying to find a solution to the euro zone debt crisis.

Following are highlights of comments from leaders and other senior officials as they arrived before an informal dinner to begin the summit:

AUSTRIAN CHANCELLOR WERNER FAYMANN ON TREATY CHANGE:

"We Austrians always said we don't demand one (a treaty change) but if there should be one we will have a look what is in there. Now we know what is in there: basically it says the debt brakes are to introduced and to be abided by. That is also something we Austrians demand because if the foundation isn't right you can't build a house.

"We are very much in favor of have a strong enough firewall to fend off financial markets. Strong walls need to be on a strong foundation. Should there be a debate about more discipline we will support that."

ASKED IF DEBT FIREWALLS ARE STRONG ENOUGH:

"No that's the actual problem. That we need the foundation is out of question but the firewalls aren't strong enough. There are different suggestions how to strengthen them and I hope we will take home a result."

"There are different suggestions. One suggestion that has repeatedly come from us and (Eurogroup President) Jean-Claude Juncker and others have supported, is that the ECB gets additional flexibility to support the rescue fund, the EFSF, and to have financing there. That would be one way that would be really good."

"But there are other ways too. To combine the first and second rescue fund, the ESM. There are many ideas that show that we are keen on increasing the firewall."   Continued...