European Union leaders hold talks on Sunday to try to hammer out a comprehensive plan for tackling the euro zone debt crisis, but a breakthrough is not expected until another summit on Wednesday.
Following are comments ahead of Sunday's talks:
EUROPEAN COUNCIL PRESIDENT HERMAN VAN ROMPUY:
Today we will agree on measures to stimulate growth and to create jobs and we will also deal with the crisis in the euro zone. Useless to say that the current economic challenges are deeply serious: slowing growth, rising unemployment, pressure on the banks and risks on the sovereign bonds.
Our meetings of today and Wednesday are important steps, perhaps the most important ones in the series to overcome the financial crisis, even if further steps will be needed.
Some of those steps were and are unpopular -- be it measures taken in your countries or our joint decisions taken here as a union. I thank you for your political courage, often underestimated.
These steps forward also require simple and plain hard work, so let's start.
AUSTRIAN CHANCELLOR WERNER FAYMANN ON ROLE OF EUROPEAN CENTRAL BANK:
The ECB has legally only limited possibilities; we should not ask more of it than what is possible with regard to its independence.
ON THE WAY FORWARD:
Even the next summit on Wednesday will not resolve all problems in the debt crisis.
IRISH PRIME MINISTER ENDA KENNY:
The world is watching the European leadership. I hope that we can have progress today toward a set of comprehensive and clear decisions and a joined up thinking process.
The prevention of contagion and the construction of firewalls is of critical importance.
BRITISH PRIME MINISTER DAVID CAMERON:
The crisis in the euro zone is affecting all our economies, Britain included. It's having a chilling effect. We have to deal with this issue.
SWEDISH PRIME MINISTER FREDRIK REINFELDT:
We need a solution, of course. I'm not sure we'll have it today. I hear we might have a new meeting in the middle of next week. We need a solution how to control the situation in Greece.
ON BANK RECAPITALISATION:
We need a solution to understand that this will in fact have an impact on the banking systems in Europe. When we control that, when we recapitalize the banks, we need to take a clear standpoint that the losses should not be covered by taxpayers, but by the owners and that we control managements inside these financial institutions.
ON COUNTRIES CUTTING THEIR DEBTS:
We also need again to ask for more measures to put countries on the right track when it comes to clearing their huge deficits and public finances and huge national debts.
Look at Ireland -- they have now started a process where they are meeting the situation they had and they are getting positive market signals back once they have started to reform. That's the Swedish experience. That's the way we have to do this.
GERMAN CHANCELLOR ANGELA MERKEL ON TREATY CHANGE:
We want more Europe, stronger rights to intervene. Treaty changes for that should not be a taboo.
ON CHANGES TO THE EFSF (EUROPEAN FINANCIAL STABILITY FACILITY):
Today, we are preparing for decisions on Wednesday. This concerns technical details of complicated process such as how the EFSF works, for example.
Therefore, we must consider all details.
One should not expect decisions from the euro (leaders')group today but rather on Wednesday. I want to emphasize that so as to make clear what to expect.
GREEK PRIME MINISTER GEORGE PAPANDREOU:
Greece has proven again and again that we are making the necessary decisions to make our economy sustainable and make our economy more just. We are a proud people. We are a proud nation and we demand that respect of what we're doing.
And we are doing what we need from our side, the responsibility that we are taking on, with great pain, to make Greece a different country.
It's been proven now that the crisis is not a Greek crisis. The crisis is a European crisis. So now is the time that we as Europeans need to act decisively and effectively.
BELGIAN PRIME MINISTER YVES LETERME ON SITUATION IN BELGIUM:
We are in a very different situation from Italy (on our debt to GDP ratio). I am sure that before 2014 we will get it below 90 percent (of GDP).
Belgium is a country with strong growth.
ON SUNDAY'S DISCUSSIONS ON THE EUROPEAN CRISIS:
It is essential that by tomorrow morning, when markets open, we have made enough progress so that the credibility of the euro is not in danger.
(Reporting by Julien Toyer, Ilona Wissenbach, John O'Donnell, David Brunnstrom, Robin Emmott, Barbara Lewis, Matt Falloon)