BRUSSELS – European leaders agreed at a summit in Brussels on Friday to press on with further steps to tackle their debt crisis, but German Chancellor Angela Merkel threw out a proposal to boost risk-sharing with a fund to help euro zone states in trouble.
EU leaders also discussed the situation in Syria, and asked foreign ministers to look at all options to help the opposition there.
Following are comments after Friday's talks:
FRENCH PRESIDENT FRANCOIS HOLLANDE
ON ECONOMIC GROWTH:
"There will be a pick-up in growth, everything is ready for that... I believe it will be there in 2013 already."
Following are earlier comments after Thursday's discussions:
FRENCH PRESIDENT FRANCOIS HOLLANDE
ON BANKING SUPERVISION:
"To be precise, this mechanism will directly cover 82 percent of the banking sector in Germany and 95 percent in France. It will afford savers enormous security as regards their deposits and give states more guarantees surrounding the functioning of banks."
ON DIRECT BANK RECAPITALISATION:
"Now the calendar has been set, in the first half of 2013, recapitalization can now take place under certain conditions."
"The resolution mechanism will see the light of day towards the end of 2013. And we can say that by the start of 2014 the whole of the edifice will be available for Europe and notably for the euro zone."
"For me, the conditions for exiting the euro crisis have been achieved. And now we have to manage the exit from the economic crisis itself."
ON CONTRACTS AND POLICY COORDINATION:
"This is about coordinating all the countries' efforts for competitiveness, growth and employment. A solidarity mechanism is to be envisaged - details will be proposed by the president of the European Council."
"Countries that want to sign them can sign them."
ON TREATY CHANGE:
"In 2014 there will be European Parliament elections and there will be a change of Commission - at that time another phase can be envisaged with perhaps a revision of treaties."
GERMAN CHANCELLOR ANGELA MERKEL
"We agreed a roadmap for the future development of the currency union and talked about different aspects of this that are important. Above all, it was important when we do what.
"We've had some successful days for the stabilization of the euro zone. On the one hand the payment of the Greek aid tranches. It was noticeable today that the Greek prime minister said that he can finally begin to focus on growth and take the last steps that are necessary, for example tax reform."
ON BANKING UNION:
"Alongside the supervisory mechanism we need two things. When the supervision is in place, that will be in March 2014, then we will need guidelines for the direct recapitalization of banks that are being supervised at European level. This is a complicated task that must be examined closely.
"And second, this was made clear by ECB President Mario Draghi, we also need the legal framework to be able to wind down banks that are under European supervision.
"This must not be at the cost of taxpayers. It must be set up so that those that are responsible for the banking problems also shoulder the burden. This was a very important point."
ON ECONOMIC INTEGRATION/SOLIDARITY FUND:
"We also discussed stronger economic policy coordination. We agreed to clear up by June the details of how we, on the one hand, set up contracts between the European Commission and the member states to improve competitiveness. And on the other side, possibly freeing up funds for countries to help them in the process of budget consolidation.
"We are talking about support linked to improvements in competitiveness.
"We are talking about a very limited budget. Not three digit billions, rather 10 or 15 or 20 billion euros."
ON SITUATION IN ITALY:
"What Mario Monti and his government have done in the past months has contributed strongly to a rise in confidence in Italy. As the leader of the German government, I will certainly not get involved in who will be a candidate in Italy or how the elections should look."
"We all know that one doesn't interfere. Nevertheless I made clear today, and this was confirmed by all others, that the government that has received broad parliamentary support from all parties... is the government of Mario Monti and his ministers. They have done very constructive work to restore confidence in Italy."
EUROPEAN COMMISSION PRESIDENT JOSE MANUEL BARROSO
ON BANK RESOLUTION MECHANISM:
"...Member states today decided to concentrate on what can be done now, so the more urgent things, namely the single resolution mechanism that was in principle agreed.... Now the Commission will come with a proposal also, a formal proposal.
"But there was an agreement that we need as a next step in the banking union the single resolution mechanism."
"The Commission will make a proposal for a single resolution mechanism in 2013. This will be the next important building-block of our banking union."
"For example, and it was a very important point of discussion tonight, we proposed contractual arrangements ... backed by financial support. This is a very important development, there was general consensus on that."
EUROPEAN COUNCIL PRESIDENT HERMAN VAN ROMPUY
ON BANK RESOLUTION SCHEME:
"This evening we decided to put in place a single resolution mechanism."
"It will strengthen our financial sector. Breaking the vicious circle between sovereigns and banks will help ensure stability and improve lending conditions - both vital for growth and employment in the euro zone and beyond."
"It serves the need of euro zone members, whilst being open to all and taking into account those that choose not to take part. It is a truly single system, with a sensible division of labor between the ECB and national authorities."
EUROPEAN CENTRAL BANK PRESIDENT MARIO DRAGHI
ON BANK SUPERVISION:
"...The creation of a single supervisory mechanism is a major step forward towards the financial integration of the euro area. It will help strengthen confidence and, in the medium term, will help restore... rebuild the interbank markets.
"The way it's been conceived will ensure a separation between monetary policy and supervision."
AUSTRIAN CHANCELLOR WERNER FAYMANN
ON BANKING SUPERVISION AND RESOLUTION:
"What is positive is that banking supervision has been agreed so that we can already think about the next steps in the direction of banking union.
"You have to know how you can wind down a bank. How can you ensure that the taxpayer doesn't take on the costs when something goes wrong at a bank? How can you save in order to have resources in the case of resolution?"
(Reporting by Mark John and Ben Deighton; compiled by Rex Merrifield)