EU: Cyprus under spotlight, one more year to Portugal

Progress on growth, Italy earns flexibility and 'golden rule'

15 March, 14:08

Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades

(ANSAmed) - BRUSSELS - The bailout of Cyprus hit by a four-year-long European crisis will be at the centre of an EU summit on Friday in Brussels. In the afternoon, finance ministers of the 17 euro zone countries will meet in a special session aimed at discussing aid to be granted to Nicosia.

Meanwhile Lisbon has confirmed that Portugal has obtained one more year from the EU to meet the deficit target.

The first day of the summit ended on Thursday confirming the ideological fracture between austerity and growth though partial progress was made towards a compromise on speeding growth by slightly softening austerity policies.

'We know that recovery requires time to give results, lowering the spread doesn't help people in need, therefore we need urgent reforms and we are looking beyond nominal budget objectives', said EU President Herman Van Rompuy at the end of the meeting. The summit left everybody satisfied because, as Van Rompuy said citing a well known best-seller, growth and austerity are different 'shades of grey'.

Italian Premier Mario Monti obtained, at his first Council, what he wanted: flexibility, or the 'golden rule' enabling Italy to start spending public money again once in between balancing the budget and reaching the 3% deficit target. EU Commission President Jose' Barroso, explained Monti, recognized that there are no contradictions' between Italy's requests and the budget discipline of the Stability and Growth Pact. (ANSAmed)

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