Europe is facing a political crisis of "unseen magnitude" because of EU leaders' failure to get to grips with the economic situation in the eurozone, the leader of the European Parliament's liberal group has said.
Guy Verhofstadt said that two months ago a number of Europe's leaders told the Parliament the crisis was over, but they were "dramatically wrong".
He said the euro crisis had spread from Greece, an economy representing just 2% of Europe's GDP, to the eurozone's third and fourth largest economies - Italy and Spain.
"It is not a crisis about Greece. It is not a crisis about Portugal, Ireland, Italy or Spain. In my opinion it is not even an economic crisis, or a financial crisis.
"It is simply a political crisis today, what we are facing in Europe, because our leaders are not able to take the right decisions at the right times."
The Belgian MEP urged EU leaders to establish a full economic and fiscal union, a debt mutualisation fund and a pact for growth, to steer the European economy to safety.
He said the ball was in the Commission's court, asking: "What are you waiting for?"
"Use your right of initiative, only you have it, and put on the table [at the summit] a real proposal for... a real growth package for Europe," he urged.
Mr Verhofstadt was speaking during a debate on preparations for the forthcoming informal EU growth summit on 23 May.
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