Mr Van Rompuy said that Cyprus was taking up the EU's Council Presidency at a challenging moment, and that Cyprus was going to play an important part in bringing all countries and institutions together in a common effort for growth and stability.
Since 2008, Europe has faced two major crises – the banking crisis and the sovereign debt crisis. Both were unprecedented, in intensity and magnitude. They have affected Europe as a whole and the eurozone in particular, and sparked real hardship in certain countries. Think of the millions of unemployed men and women in Greece and Spain. Cyprus has also been hit by the crisis – and we all know the risks are not over yet.
We are driven by a clear common determination: Greece must remain in the euro area while respecting its commitments. We expect that after the elections, the next Greek government will make that choice. The stakes are high – for you as neighbours with close links to its financial system, but also for all of us in the eurozone. But unlike two years ago when the Greek crisis started, we now have the tools in place – the European Financial Stability Facility and, soon, the European Stability Mechanism – to guarantee the financial stability of the eurozone as a whole and help our Member States in overcoming the crisis.
Sound public finances and growth are two sides of the same coin. In the long run, you cannot have one without the other. This is why European leaders have worked on both fronts simultaneously. We have tamed the debt crisis, but we have also developed a common strategy for growth and employment.
Remarks by President Herman Van Rompuy following his meeting with President of Cyprus, Demetris Christofias
© European Council
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