EU to thrash out reforms

Agence France Presse

Brussels, January 16:

European Union finance ministers will try this week to hammer out reforms to the eurozone’s tattered budget rules ahead of a March summit devoted to economic reform. At their meeting, the ministers will also discuss the economic fallout of the Asian tsunami and the related question of debt relief for the world’s poorest countries. Topping the agenda is an attempt to find consensus on how best to shake up the Stability and Growth Pact to make the EU’s fiscal rules more flexible, while not throwing budgetary discipline away.

“At Tuesday’s Ecofin we will be taking a very important step to reduce the options that are on the table,” a senior source with the EU’s Luxembourg presidency said. The official reaffirmed the presidency’s objective of a deal on reforming the beleaguered pact by the March 22-23 summit, which is meant to tackle long-term reforms to the EU’s struggling economy. “So far we are on the right track,” the source said.