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Van Rompuy arranges EU 'growth summit' ahead of Irish referendum

The European Council will meet on May 23, eight days before Ireland’s referendum, in an olive branch to Francois Hollande.

Herman van Rompuy will convene EU heads of government exactly halfway between Francois Hollande taking office and Ireland's referendum on the Fiscal Compact.
Herman van Rompuy will convene EU heads of government exactly halfway between Francois Hollande taking office and Ireland's referendum on the Fiscal Compact.
Image: Yves Logghe/AP

THE PRESIDENT of the European Council has arranged an informal summit of the EU heads of government for two weeks’ time, in what will be seen as an olive branch to Francois Hollande’s demands for amendments to the fiscal compact.

Herman van Rompuy announced through Twitter that he would hold an informal meeting of the European Council, the body of the EU’s 27 heads of state or government, on May 23.

That date also comes just eight days before the Irish referendum on the Fiscal Compact – a deal which Hollande wants to renegotiate in order to provide for greater growth policies at European level.

Opponents of the treaty in Ireland have also cited its failure to promote growth as one of the fiscal compact’s main failings.

The dinner will provide Hollande with his first opportunity to meet the other EU heads of state, coming eight days after his inauguration as Nicolas Sarkozy’s successor.

Hollande’s appointment will bring to six the number of socialist heads of government on the 27-member council.

The Irish government, as well as Germany’s Angela Merkel and ECB president Mario Draghi, have both argued in favour of retaining the Fiscal Compact as it currently stands, seeking a supplementary ‘growth compact’ instead of undoing the current treaty.

Read: Merkel: Fiscal Treaty will not be renegotiated

More: Labour accuses Sinn Féin, the Socialist Party of ‘twisting the facts’ of Hollande victory

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Gavan Reilly

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