EU leaders gather in Brussels, swap ideas as crisis eases
BRUSSELS (AFP) - EU leaders gather in Brussels for a summit on Thursday on strengthening the bloc's shaky foundations as Spain appears set finally to ask for financial aid, easing a key eurozone pressure point.
With Spain edging closer to asking for what diplomats describe as a precautionary credit line after months of hesitation, the 27 European Union states will meet from 5:45 pm (11.45pm Sg time) for two days of talks free from the worst fears of previous debt crisis summits.
The meeting, which will also review relations with China, and discuss hotspots Syria, Iran and Mali, is the first of three before Christmas aiming to end the year with a deal on a stronger economic and monetary union.
"On the exit from the eurozone crisis, we are close, very close," said French President Francois Hollande, insisting it was the eurozone and EU's "duty" to implement rapidly decisions agreed at a June summit.