wednesday, 28 may of 2014

Leaders agree to review EU agenda at Brussels summit

Europe

Leaders agree to review EU agenda at Brussels summit


EU leaders have agreed to re-evaluate the bloc's agenda after voters "sent a strong message", European Council President Herman Van Rompuy has said.


Mr Van Rompuy said leaders of the 28 member states had asked him to launch consultations on future policies.


He was speaking after a meeting in Brussels to discuss big election gains by populist and far-right parties.


The results of the European Parliament election led to calls for an EU rethink by those leaders who suffered defeats.


But despite gains by anti-EU groups, pro-European parties still won most votes overall.


Tuesday's summit was the first opportunity for leaders of all member states to discuss the way forward after last week's polls.


The BBC's Chris Morris says reforms could include less regulation and less focus on economic austerity policies, while measures to boost growth and create jobs could address voter discontent.


Mr Van Rompuy said the results of the European elections had shown "a mix of continuity and change" and that the Eurosceptic message from voters was "at the heart" of discussions between leaders.


He said the meeting in Brussels had been a "useful first discussion" and that EU leaders had agreed on putting the economy at the heart of the group's agenda.
"As the union emerges from the financial crisis it needs a positive agenda of growth," he said, repeating a common refrain of what is needed to reverse growing anti-EU sentiment.


'France cannot live isolated'


President Francois Hollande asked Europe to "pay attention" to France after describing his Socialist party's defeat to the far-right National Front as "painful."

The National Front - which Germany's finance minister described as "fascist" - stormed to victory with a preliminary 25% of the vote, pushing Mr Hollande's Socialists into third place.


National Front President Marine Le Pen said she would use her electoral mandate to "defend France" and fight "crazy measures like votes for immigrants."


Speaking after EU leaders met in Brussels, Mr Hollande said the National Front victory was "traumatic for France and Europe."


"France cannot live isolated and frightened. Its destiny is in Europe," he added.


(Published by BBC News – May 28, 2014)

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