Ukraine crisis, Greek bailout, terrorism top EU summit agenda

World Today

European Union leaders gathered in the Belgian capital to discuss issues ranging from Ukraine’s ceasefire, domestic terrorism, and the risk of a default by Greece’s new anti-austerity government. CCTV’s Jack Barton reported this story from Brussels.

Ukraine crisis, Greek bailout & terrorism top EU summit agenda

European Union leaders gathered in the Belgian capital to discuss issues ranging from Ukraine’s ceasefire, domestic terrorism and the risk of a default by Greece’s new anti-austerity government. CCTV’s Jack Barton reported this story from Brussels.

Fresh from the Minsk ceasefire talks, the leaders of France and Germany arrived at the leaders summit in Brussels bearing cautious optimism.

“The Minsk agreement is a glimmer of hope, nothing more, nothing less, but now actions must follow words,” Chancellor of Germany, Angela Merkel said.

The word ‘hope’ was on everyone’s lips, though optimism seemed in short supply.

“We had a larger more cohesive agreement five months ago, and it was not implemented and now we have an even smaller partial agreement on ceasefire, because there is no agreement on border control at all,” President of Lithuania Dalia Dalia Grybauskaitė said.

David Cameron, Prime Minister of Britain said that actions speak louder than words.

“What matters most of all is actions on the ground rather than just words on a piece of paper and I think we should be very clear that Vladimir Putin needs to know that unless his behavior changes the sanctions we have in place won’t be altered,” Cameron said.

Galvanized by the recent attacks in France, European leaders also debated a range of ambitious measures to better safeguard the bloc.

They discussed stronger legislation on the exchange of airline passenger information, tougher external border controls, and to fight extremism on the Internet.

Finally there was the issue of Greece, which has now formally rejected the terms of its bailout, but which needs at least $5 billion by the end of March to avoid default.

That can was kicked just a little further down the road to another finance ministers meeting on Monday — the same day EU foreign ministers must decide whether a range of postponed sanctions targeting Russia are introduced, or once again put on hold.