Financial Instability, Climate and Club Med Dominate EU Talks
Speaking after new figures were released at the close of Asian trading which showed the single currency hitting a new high over $1.56, Sarkozy told the summit that the heads of state and government had every reason to be concerned about market instability. The French president said he was satisfied that the issue had been raised at the summit and that it was now time for action to avert a future financial meltdown. European Commission chief Jose Manuel Barroso tried to instill calm by telling the summit that the European Central Bank (ECB) would take control of the situation should it be required to. "The ECB will do what is necessary to secure financial stability," Barroso said. The EU also formally backed ambitious French plans for a Union for the Mediterranean, but watered it down to such an extent that it had to be given a new name. According to a last-minute addition to the draft conclusions of their regular spring council in Brussels, the new organization is to be called "Barcelona Process: Union for the Mediterranean." The Barcelona process is the name of the EU's 13-year-old policy which deals with the bloc's southern neighbors and which many critics say has so far failed to deliver.
The latest draft of the proposal, brokered by Germany earlier this week and submitted to leaders over dinner on Thursday, includes all of the EU's member states and vaguely talks about "projects with an accent on regional cooperation."