November 29, 2011
When finance ministers from the 17 eurozone countries sat down to dinner last night in Brussels, they kicked off a 10-day whirlwind of high-level meetings, parliamentary votes and diplomatic gatherings that could prove pivotal to Europe’s increasingly frantic efforts to rescue the single currency.
The culmination will be a summit meeting in Brussels on December 8-9, when European leaders may agree to overhaul the European Union treaties for a historic leap forward in the bloc’s economic and political integration.
Moves towards a fiscal union could give the European Central Bank reassurance to intervene more heavily in eurozone bond markets.
The meetings are unfolding against a growing sense of despair in financial markets and are fraught with potential for missteps.
“This summit really is a last chance,” said one EU official. Yet he bemoaned the continued disagreements between Germany and France – the eurozone’s biggest economies – over the central challenges to resolving the crisis. “We could be left naked.”
Finance ministers from all 27 EU members will meet in Brussels today to discuss ways to ensure liquidity for Europe’s increasingly credit-starved banks. Attention will then shift to France.