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Business

Van Rompuy warns against half-hearted crisis fighting

Ahead of a crucial meeting of European leaders next month, EU President Herman Van Rompuy has urged governments not to slow down the pace of reforms. He said there was too much at stake to just sit back and relax.

EU President Herman Van Rompuy told governments across the 27-nation bloc that they must not relax their economic reform programs even as the European Union was making progress in protecting itself from financial shocks.

"I see a tendency of losing the sense of urgency both on short term and long-term policies, but this must not happen," Van Rompuy said a in video message on his homepage on Monday.

He acknowledged that markets had calmed down on the back of the European Central Bank's decision to relaunch a conditional bond-buying program. But he added the eurozone was still slipping into recession, with analysts worried about the pace of reforms in Italy, France, Spain and Greece.

No time to waste

"As long as 25 million people in our countries are looking for jobs and as long as we have not yet fully stabilized the euro, we cannot sit back," Van Rompuy warned, urging faster reforms to boost employment and economic growth.

The EU President referred to the upcoming October 18-19 summit as being crucial in the sense that hard questions on the single currency had to be addressed without further delay. He noted that current faults in the design of the euro had to be done away with.

The summit will "discuss very concrete plans for closer political, economic and currency union – something that should have been done long ago," Van Rompuy argued.

hg/mz (AFP, Reuters, dpa)