As euro-tension eases, EU summit mulls eurozone redesign
BRUSSELS (AFP) - EU leaders will go into a brainstorming session on Thursday in the first of three summits being held before Christmas in the hope of ending the year with a deal on a stronger economic and monetary union.
Although pressure on the euro has eased in recent weeks, European Union leaders gathering from 5:45 pm (11.45pm Sg time) on Thursday have to contend with a deepening recession and social unrest as well as divisions between Europe's major powers on how to ensure the euro single currency can survive the debt crisis.
One of the hot-button issues is the plan for a single European bank regulator, the first step towards allowing the new eurozone rescue fund, the European Stability Mechanism, to directly help ailing lenders.
The 17 eurozone states largely support the proposal, although serious differences over timing remain, but their non-euro peers are uneasy that their banks operating in the bloc might face new regulation without their say-so.