EU's Van Rompuy says calls summit on January 30

BRUSSELS Tue Dec 20, 2011 10:11pm GMT

European Council President Herman Van Rompuy attends a debate on the last EU summit at the European Parliament in Strasbourg, December 13, 2011. REUTERS/Vincent Kessler

European Council President Herman Van Rompuy attends a debate on the last EU summit at the European Parliament in Strasbourg, December 13, 2011.

Credit: Reuters/Vincent Kessler

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - European Union leaders will meet on January 30 next year, European Council President Herman Van Rompuy said on Tuesday as diplomatic negotiations began on an intergovernmental pact to tighten euro zone fiscal control.

In a video address, Van Rompuy said the summit for the 27-country bloc would be focused on jobs and he also highlighted the importance of achieving financial stability in the euro zone.

"It (the meeting) will be focused on jobs and that is a big challenge in the context when zero growth is expected in most of our economies," he said.

"We must take strong action on employment," said Van Rompuy, who will chair the meeting of leaders, adding: "Bringing financial stability to the euro zone remains absolutely key for our future."

Pointing to the reforms being made in countries, he said: "The path is long, longer than we expected. But let there be no doubt, there is a fundamental political will to move forward as a union. We have a moral duty to continue this mission."

Van Rompuy announced the date as a meeting took place in Brussels between EU diplomats, the European Parliament and the European Commission to start negotiations on an intergovernmental agreement to tighten fiscal controls and sanctions in the euro zone.

Britain will attend the negotiations although it has not signed up to the new agreement intended to regulate the 17 countries in the euro zone plus any others who later join them in the single currency area.

It appears likely that the so-called fiscal compact will be backed by the 26 other states in the European Union.

(Reporting By John O'Donnell; Editing by Andrea Ricci)

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