Ditch austerity, Angela Merkel and David Cameron are told

EU leaders meeting in Brussels are under pressure from growing popular anger

Brussels and Paris

As popular discontent spreads across Europe, David Cameron and Angela Merkel will come under pressure from other EU leaders tomorrow to signal an end to the “all-austerity” approach to the economic crisis.

European leaders meeting in Brussels tomorrow and Friday are confronted with a political vacuum in Italy, intractable crises in Spain and Greece and worrying signs of a renewed economic slide in Britain and France. Above all, they are confronted with growing popular anger at the EU policy of curing recession with austerity.

Mr Cameron and, above all, the German Chancellor Ms Merkel will be urged to agree a summit statement accepting a more softly-softly approach to cuts in public spending in the eurozone and the wider European Union. The language is likely to be cautious and will not commit Mr Cameron to any change in the Coalition’s austerity policies in Britain.

The draft conclusions for the summit call for “an appropriate mix of expenditure and revenue measures, including short-term targeted measures to boost growth and jobs, particularly for the young”. The communiqué also urges governments to give priority to “growth-friendly investment.”

There may also be concessions on the official EU targets for state deficit-cutting. Whether all of this amounts to a change in direction, or merely a change in presentation, remains open to question. 

In a speech to the European Parliament, the European Commission President, Jose Manuel Barroso, urged countries to stick to their reform programmes. “We will not allow the momentum for the European Union’s reform to slow down,” he said.

Chancellor Merkel, facing a re-election campaign this autumn, is under domestic pressure to maintain Germany’s insistence that long-term growth can only be “bought” by painful economic medicine. She is expected, however, to agree to a form of words to satisfy France and Spain and help to ease the political deadlock in Italy.

The summit statement will, in part, amount to recognition of reality. The French President, François Hollande, finally admitted this week that, despite tax rises and spending cuts, France will fail to meet the EU target of a state deficit of 3 per cent of GDP this year. He said the final figure would probably be 3.7 per cent.

EU leaders have held a string of “crisis” summits in the last four years in which they struggled to find ways to prevent financial markets from pushing the euro over a cliff. The market pressure has receded since late last year when the European Central Bank offered open-ended support to Europe’s struggling banks.

The pressure on EU capitals now comes from popular anger against state spending cuts, low growth and rising unemployment. The industrial output of the EU as a whole fell by an alarming 0.4 per cent in January

“The situation in Italy and the latest economic statistics across Europe speak for themselves,” one senior French official said.

“We must find a more intelligent balance between reform and short-term growth.”

On the slide: European economies

Italy The economy shrank 0.9 per cent in the fourth quarter of 2012; unemployment is at a record high.

France Weak industrial output in January has led to fears that France could slip into a triple-dip recession.

Germany The economy grew in the first two years of the eurozone crisis but shrank 0.6 per cent in the fourth quarter of last year.

Greece The economy shrank 6.4 per cent in 2012. The downturn is expected to persist this year with the government and central bank projecting a fall of 4.5 per cent.

PROMOTED VIDEO
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
News
Ian Thorpe had Rio 2016 in his sights
people
Arts and Entertainment
Original Netflix series such as Orange Is The New Black are to benefit from a 'substantial' increase in investment
TVHoax announcement had caused outrage
Life and Style
Swimsuit, £245, by Agent Provocateur
fashion

Diving in at the deep end is no excuse for shirking the style stakes

News
One Direction star Harry Styles who says he has no plans to follow his pal Cara Delevingne down the catwalk.
peopleManagement confirms rumours singer is going it alone are false
Voices
Mrs Brown's Boy: D'Movie has been a huge commercial success
voicesWhen it comes to national stereotyping, the Irish know it can pay to play up to outsiders' expectations, says DJ Taylor
Arts and Entertainment
Curtain calls: Madani Younis
theatreMadani Younis wants the neighbourhood to follow his work as closely as his audiences do
Arts and Entertainment
'Deep Breath' is Peter Capaldi's first full-length adventure as the twelfth Doctor
TVFirst episode of new series has ended up on the internet
Life and Style
Douglas McMaster says the food industry is ‘traumatised’
food + drinkSilo in Brighton will have just six staple dishes on the menu every day, including one meat option, one fish, one vegan, and one 'wild card'
Sport
Mario Balotelli, Divock Origi, Loic Remy, Wilfried Bony and Karim Benzema
transfersBony, Benzema and the other transfer targets
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

C# Developer (ASP.NET, F#, SQL, MVC, Bootstrap, JavaScript)

£55000 - £65000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: C# Developer (...

C# Payment Developer (Swift, FOX, Vigil, .NET, SQL)

£55000 - £65000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: C# Payment Dev...

Information Security Manager (ISO 27001, Accreditation, ITIL)

£70000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Information Security Manager (ISO 27001, A...

C# Developer (HTML5, JavaScript, ASP.NET, Mathematics, Entity)

£30000 - £45000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: C# Developer (...

Day In a Page

Iraq crisis: How Saudi Arabia helped Isis take over the north of the country

How Saudi Arabia helped Isis take over northern Iraq

A speech by an ex-MI6 boss hints at a plan going back over a decade. In some areas, being Shia is akin to being a Jew in Nazi Germany, says Patrick Cockburn
The evolution of Andy Serkis: First Gollum, then King Kong - now the actor is swinging through the trees in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

The evolution of Andy Serkis

First Gollum, then King Kong - now the actor is swinging through the trees in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
You thought 'Benefits Street' was controversial: Follow-up documentary 'Immigrant Street' has got locals worried

You thought 'Benefits Street' was controversial...

Follow-up documentary 'Immigrant Street' has got locals worried
Refugee children from Central America let down by Washington's high ideals

Refugee children let down by Washington's high ideals

Democrats and Republicans refuse to set aside their differences to cope with the influx of desperate Central Americas, says Rupert Cornwell
Children's books are too white, says Laureate

Children's books are too white, says Laureate

Malorie Blackman appeals for a better ethnic mix of authors and characters and the illustrator Quentin Blake comes to the rescue
Blackest is the new black: Scientists have developed a material so dark that you can't see it...

Blackest is the new black

Scientists have developed a material so dark that you can't see it...
Matthew Barzun: America's diplomatic dude

Matthew Barzun: America's diplomatic dude

The US Ambassador to London holds 'jeans and beer' gigs at his official residence – it's all part of the job, he tells Chris Green
Meet the Quantified Selfers: From heart rates to happiness, there is little this fast-growing, self-tracking community won't monitor

Meet the 'Quantified Selfers'

From heart rates to happiness, there is little this fast-growing, self-tracking community won't monitor
Madani Younis: Five-star reviews are just the opening act for British theatre's first non-white artistic director

Five-star reviews are just the opening act for British theatre's first non-white artistic director

Madani Younis wants the neighbourhood to follow his work as closely as his audiences do
Mrs Brown and her boys: are they having a laugh?

Mrs Brown and her boys: are they having a laugh?

When it comes to national stereotyping, the Irish – among others – know it can pay to play up to outsiders' expectations, says DJ Taylor
Gavin Maxwell's bitter legacy: Was the otter man the wildlife champion he appeared to be?

Otter man Gavin Maxwell's bitter legacy

The aristocrat's eccentric devotion to his pets inspired a generation. But our greatest living nature writer believes his legacy has been quite toxic
Joanna Rowsell: The World Champion cyclist on breaking her collarbone, shattering her teeth - and dealing with alopecia

Joanna Rowsell: 'I wear my wig to look normal'

The World Champion cyclist on breaking her collarbone, shattering her teeth - and dealing with alopecia
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef gives raw ingredients a lift with his quick marinades

Bill Granger's quick and delicious marinades

Our chef's marinades are great for weekend barbecuing, but are also a delicious way of injecting flavour into, and breaking the monotony of, weekday meals
Germany vs Argentina World Cup 2014 preview: Why Brazilians don't love their neighbours Argentina any more

Anyone but Argentina – why Brazilians don’t love their neighbours any more

The hosts will be supporting Germany in today's World Cup final, reports Alex Bellos
The Open 2014: Time again to ask that major question - can Lee Westwood win at last?

The Open 2014

Time again to ask that major question - can Lee Westwood win at last?