Highlights: EU leaders' comments after summit talks
BRUSSELS (Reuters) - Europe divided in a historic rift on Friday over building a closer fiscal union to preserve the euro, with a large majority of countries led by Germany and France agreeing to forge ahead with a separate treaty, leaving Britain isolated.
Following are highlights of comments by EU leaders and other top officials after the end of their two-day meeting.
ITALIAN PRIME MINISTER MARIO MONTI ON FIREWALLS:
"There was an interesting dynamic involving countries traditionally restrictive with regards to firewalls, which showed a certain disposition to movement towards the others.
"This showed up only partially in the figures but I noted that this readiness to consider that firewalls are a very important thing is increasing. I think this is not unrelated to what countries in difficulty are doing."
ON EURO BONDS:
"Don't be deceived. The fact that euro bonds do not figure as such in the statement by the euro area heads of government does not mean that work is not going on.
"Some member states with a known traditional hostility to the concept of common issuance would have preferred to declare that the idea itself was ruled out.
"But the idea prevailed -- and I, along with some others, fought a lot in this direction -- the idea prevailed that in an integrated area which declares it wants to move towards a fiscal union, it would be inconsistent to declare straight away that it permanently rejects an instrument which allows it to gain certain advantages of a fiscal union." Continued...