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The cost of the euro’s survival

· An EU summit in Brussels on the debt crisis ·

“Let us not be under any illusions, the situation is very serious: the future of the euro is at stake.” The realism of the President of the European Commission, Jose’ Manuel Durao Barroso, best sums up the current climate in Brussels. Today in the Belgian capital, the EU summit on the debt crisis begins. The markets remain cautious: the principal Stock Exchanges of the Old Continent have shown signs of slight recovery.

The stakes are very high: a new rescue of Greece, the last bulwark against a domino effect and against a substantial collapse for the single currency. The sherpas have been working for days on an agreement, and yet their final meeting, a decisive one, originally scheduled for late yesterday afternoon has been postponed until today, just a few hours before the official start of the summit. Barroso asks for “clarity” on at least five points: proposed measures to stabilize the debt crisis in Greece; the feasibility and limits of private sector participation; the margins for more flexible action by the European Financial Stability Facility, the eurozone’s rescue fund, repair of the banking sector and measures to keep the banking system liquid. “The moment has come to make decisions,” said Barroso, recalling that the choices are the competence of member States. “Leaders have said that they will do everything necessary to assure stability in the eurozone, the moment has come to maintain that promise.”

A decisive step in the direction of a global agreement came yesterday in Berlin, during a summit between the German Chancellor, Angela Merkel and French President, Nicolas Sarkozy. The agreement reached by the two leaders was described by the Elysee Palace as, “essential, an indispensible precondition to reassure our partners,” according to Valerie Pecresse, spokesperson for the French government. “We must create the widest possible consensus and the first brick of this consensus is obviously a common position,” between Paris and Berlin.

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