DAVID Cameron and fellow EU leaders were to meet in Brussels today under intense pressure to agree new economic growth plans ahead of a crucial Greek election vote.
With the vote being billed as a verdict on continued eurozone membership for Greece, markets are banking on the summit to lift the gloom.
The aim is to discuss jobs, growth, trade and boosting the EU single market, but officials in Brussels insist the “informal” meeting will reach no conclusions on Greece.
The fear is that a word out of place could worsen the crisis in Athens in the run-up to the poll on June 17.
On the eve of the talks, Tory MEP Martin Callanan told the European Parliament: “So we are having yet another summit – the 22nd in the last two and a half years. None of the others have made any material difference, so why should this one?
“The reason all of these summits have failed is because none of them have addressed the real problem – the collapse in our competitiveness.”
Mr Callanan, leader of the European Conservatives and Reformists group, said economic growth would only come if the EU slashed business red tape, repealed job-destroying employment legislation and embraced competition
Mr Cameron was to use the summit to repeat his insistence the eurozone must get a grip on debt and deliver sustainable growth without abandoning austerity packages already approved in return for bailouts for struggling economies.
And socialist leader in the European Parliament Hanna Swoboda called for a new agenda for “growth, employment and investment”.
European business leaders, in a letter to the summit signed by BusinessEurope president Jurgen Thumann, said: “The summit urgently needs to demonstrate to businesses, investors and citizens across our continent and beyond it has a coherent and credible plan to resolve the present crisis.”
The new French President was expected to flex his political muscles at the summit in a bid to push back against austerity in the eurozone.
Francois Hollande was due to propose a series of measures to promote growth and raise the issue of a Europe-wide financial transaction tax, which the UK refuses to support.