Page last updated at 10:58 GMT, Wednesday, 12 December 2012

EU summit debate

The presidents of the European Commission, European Parliament and European Council have been accused of "sowing the seeds of future conflict" during a debate on the forthcoming summit of EU leaders.

Belgian conservative Derk Eppink accused Jose Manuel Barroso, Martin Schulz and Herman van Rompuy of being "pretentious, pompous and pontifical" in their recent acceptance of the Nobel Peace Prize.

Speaking during the debate on 12 December 2012 he said the entire eurozone was heading for recession, and said that EU leaders "lacked the courage to tell ordinary people" about the real economic situation.

"The result is growing resentment," he concluded.

The European Council meeting will take place in Brussels on 13 and 14 December, and is due to focus on the Commission President, Jose Manuel Barroso's recent announcement of a "blueprint" towards deeper economic and monetary union (EMU).

The European Council is made up of the heads of government of all EU member states, and is presided over by former Belgian prime minister Herman van Rompuy.

Mr Barroso told MEPs that there was a "sense of urgency" about EMU. "Complacency is not an option," he added, insisting that eurozone countries should integrate at a faster rate than other EU countries.

He initially presented his EMU blueprint in November as part of a series of long term plans to create a single budget for the eurozone, including more pooling of debt.

The blueprint also contains a number of short-term measures such as completing the establishment of a single banking supervisor for the eurozone in 2013, giving the European Central Bank the power to intervene in any of the eurozone's 6,000 banks.

Sharon Bowles, the chair of the European Parliament's Economic and Monetary Affairs Committee, said further economic integration should be accompanied by more scrutiny by MEPs.

She demanded that her committee be given the right to summon Commissioners and finance ministers "when we want it", accusing the Economic and Monetary Affairs Commissioner Olli Rehn of squeezing in appearances in front of the committee "between Greece and press conferences".

This European Council meeting is the final session summit to be held during the Cypriot presidency of the EU, with Ireland taking on the six-month rotating role in January 2013.

Useful links:

Democracy Live's guide to how the plenary sessions work.

A disclaimer on the use of simultaneous interpretations, on the European Parliament's website.

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