European leaders will struggle to reconcile austerity with growth at a Monday summit due to approve a permanent rescue fund for the euro zone and put finishing touches to a German-driven pact for stricter budget discipline.
The half-day summit is meant to address ways to rekindle growth and create jobs, but is also likely to address disputes that remain over the limits of austerity and Greece's debt restructuring negotiations with private bondholders.
Following are comments ahead of the summit:
AUSTRIAN CHANCELLOR WERNER FAYMANN ON MONITORING GREECE:
I don't think it's a good idea to just have one commissioner for one country. I prefer the Commission to work in the same way as with other programme countries and make strict controls. There's the (EU-IMF) troika and others who do this job.
ON SUMMIT AIMS:
We now also have to talk about growth. We have to make savings, everybody knows this, to sort out budgets everywhere. But the big is question is how can we tackle employment. If we don't massively campaign for sustainable growth then we are missing a pillar.
I think that the financial transaction tax and strong banking rules are part of an approach where our citizens see that employment is not a minor point for us but just as important as savings and the debt brake.
DANISH PRIME MINISTER HELLE THORNING-SCHMIDT
It's very important that we don't forget the growth and the jobs. Everything starts and ends with growth and jobs, but we also have to understand that in each individual member state you have to have balanced budgets and it is important for all of us that we now have balanced budgets.
We have to balance budgets and at the same time focus on growth and jobs. It is possible to do both at the same time and it is important to understand that these are two sides of the same coin -- they are interlinked.
BRITISH PRIME MINISTER DAVID CAMERON
This is the European Council where we need to get really serious about the growth agenda in Europe. That means completing the single market, it means signing trade deals with the fastest growing parts of the world and it means a serious effort at deregulation, particularly for small businesses, so they can create the jobs and the growth that we need.
That's the agenda I am going to be pushing and I hope to find a lot of support.
GERMAN CHANCELLOR ANGELA MERKEL ASKED ABOUT MONITORING GREEK BUDGET SPENDING:
I think we're having a discussion we shouldn't be having. It's about how Europe can be supportive so Greece can comply, so there are targets. But this is only possible if Greece and the other countries debate this. This is why I don't want a controversial debate, but a constructive one which is successful. Successful for the people in Greece and nothing else.
LUXEMBOURG'S PRIME MINISTER AND EUROGROUP PRESIDENT JEAN-CLAUDE JUNCKER ON MONITORING GREECE:
I don't think we should single out Greece. If we are prepared to make sure in the treaty that we do this to countries that are constantly outside of the track, then I'm not opposed, but I don't think it's fortunate to have this only with regards to Greece.
Greece is not the focus of today's summit but we will without doubt talk about it.
ON SUMMIT AIMS:
It is about employment. We have to learn to explain that it's not just about the consolidation our finances, but we also need the prospect of growth.
SWEDISH PRIME MINISTER FREDRIK REINFELDT ON MONITORING GREECE:
We need to have things in place for monitoring that they are really doing what they are promising.
You can always discuss how you should do it and what you call it. I understand the frustration. The feeling has been that Greece, who needs support from outside to be able to survive... do not deliver on the reforms they have promised others.
The experience is that you need help from outside when you need to make tough reforms.
DUTCH PRIME MINISTER MARK RUTTE ON SITUATION IN GREECE AND BUDGETARY MONITORING:
I never comment on proposals of colleagues ahead of the summit but in general terms you know the position of the Netherlands. Quid pro quo. If we are prepared, in the case of Greece, to also in our own interest help the Greeks to get through this difficult period, we expect them to implement the agreement very well.
(Reporting by Barbara Lewis, Robert-Jan Bartunek, David Brunnstrom, Charlie Dunmore, John O'Donnell, Matt Falloon and Robin Emmott)