Europe united, says David Cameron after summit

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David Cameron declared Europe united this afternoon on the military campaign in Libya, the need to kick-start economies, and on stress tests for all nuclear plants by the end of the year.

He was speaking after an EU summit clouded by a Nato wrangle over command of the Libya offensive and a Portuguese economic crisis which threatened to de-rail the EU's economic revival hopes.

But the operational structure for Libya was settled as EU leaders met, and the prospect of an unwelcome Portuguese bail-out put off until later.

That left the Prime Minister to emerge from the talks renewing demands on Colonel Gaddafi to stand down and on his "henchmen" to desert.

Before returning to London Mr Cameron declared: "My message to Gaddafi, in absolute co-ordination with what Hillary Clinton has said, is that he should leave, he should go.

"I don't believe there is any future for Libya and the Libyan people with him at its helm, so he should go."

The Prime Minister continued: "And the message also to those around him, is that every day you work with this dictator - who has now announced two ceasefires and broken both of them, and continues to murder his own civilians - you are at risk of the International Criminal Court and you are at risk of being found guilty of war crimes."

Buoyed by an EU summit declaration endorsing military action in line with last week's United Nations Resolution, Mr Cameron went on: "The people who are around him (Gaddafi) and are obeying his orders should realise that time is up. Don't obey his orders, walk away from your tanks, leave the command and control that you are doing, give up on this regime because it should be over for him and his henchmen."

The Prime Minister praised the bravery of UK military forces in action over Libya, insisting the current campaign would continue until civilians were "safe and secure from attack".

He added: "The situation of civilians in Misrata and Zintan is grave. But we have moved quickly and decisively over the last week and I think it was right to do so.

"At this summit Europe has come together on Libya."

All EU leaders signed up to a summit text condemning the Libyan regime's continued defiance of UN Security Council resolutions and adding: "The actions taken in conformity with the mandate from the Security Council significantly contributed to protect civilians and civilian populated areas under threat of attack and helped to save lives of civilians. When the civilian populations are safe and secure from the threat of attack and the objectives of UNSCR 1973 are met, military operations will come to an end."

The Prime Minister also praised European unity over efforts to tighten eurozone economic surveillance with tougher sanctions for those failing debt and deficit criteria crucial to single currency stability.

The leaders endorsed a declaration backing "a comprehensive package of measures to respond to the (economic) crisis, preserve financial stability and lay the ground for smart, sustainable, socially inclusive and job-creating growth".

The text said: "This will strengthen the economic governance and competitiveness of the euro area and of the European Union."

But the message was undermined by the prospect that Portugal will soon follow Greece and Ireland in needing a multi-billion pound bail-out from the rest of the EU.

A bail-out was not discussed at the summit and Mr Cameron refused to respond to suggestions that the UK may have to pledge more than £3 billion to any emergency funding, saying: "I'm not speculating on another country's financial situation."

But fears remain that markets will deliver a fresh blow to the euro if another bail-out becomes a necessity.

On Japan, the summit vowed to continue supporting the country in the wake of the earthquake and tsunami, and said the EU had to now assess its nuclear safety situation.

Mr Cameron said he supported a summit call for "stress tests" on all 143 of Europe's nuclear plants following the Japanese radiation scare, even though the circumstances and conditions in Japan were very different.

"We must learn any lessons," he said. "We must make sure in Europe that we have the highest possible safety standards."

Stress tests carried out by the appropriate, independent, national bodies in member states are now to be conducted before the end of this year.

European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso said: "We must be united on the issue of nuclear safety, and respect the highest nuclear safety standards based on clear, common, transparent criteria."

He said the Commission would produce a public report based on the stress test findings by the end of 2011.

Mr Cameron is now urging the EU to invite Japan to enter a "free trade agreement" as a way of helping boost its business fortunes and speed recovery after the devastation wreaked by the earthquake.