Northern Ireland

Final deal needed at summit says EU Commissioner

A final deal to solve the euro crisis is needed from the European summit at the end of this month - according to a member of the European Commission.

Irish-appointed commissioner Maire Geoghegan-Quinn said it was "absolutely essential" to find a solution to the turmoil that the euro and Europe are going through at the moment.

Image caption EU Commissioner Maire Geoghegan-Quinn was speaking in Belfast

"I think that there is considerable pressure on heads of state and government to find a comprehensive solution to all of this issue. And I think that they are responding to that and they see that that pressure is building," she said.

Ms Geoghegan-Quinn, EU Commissioner for Research, Innovation and Science, said the situation in Spain was adding to the pressure, but that a solution could be found.

"I think it's a time for everybody to work together to find solutions and I've no doubt that we have very intelligent, bright heads of state and government that will find those solutions," she said.

'Two-speed Europe'

Earlier on Thursday, German Chancellor Angela Merkel dampened speculation that a one-off deal could be done at the Brussels summit on 28 and 29 June.

Chancellor Merkel also raised the prospect of a "two-speed Europe" developing.

But Commissioner Geoghegan-Quinn, speaking on a visit to Belfast, took issue with the German Chancellor: "A two-speed Europe would not be a good thing for Europe. That would be my personal view. The Commission has always put forward policies in every aspect of policy for all of Europe as a whole together."

Germany has also resisted calls for a mechanism to separate bank debt from sovereign debt of countries - something Spain is seeking and something that would benefit the Republic of Ireland.

Commissioner Geoghegan-Quinn said Ireland's "yes" vote in last week's fiscal treaty strengthened Taoiseach Enda Kenny's negotiating hand if any potential deal on debt emerged.

She said the Commission was supportive of measures that could ultimately relieve European citizens "lumbering" with "very high debt that came as a result of banking failures".

'Debt sharing'

A separation of the bank debt from sovereign debt is legally fraught and opposed by Germany and other stronger economies who want individual countries to remain responsible for their own banking debts.

A further measure, supported by the European Commission, would involve Eurozone-wide debt sharing.

The Commissioner said stronger economies had a responsibility to help the weaker ones at this time of crisis.

"We need at the moment more Europe rather than less Europe and we need those that are strong helping those that are weaker, that are going through difficulties at this time," she said."

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