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Schulz on need for Greece agreement: “We are called upon to carefully weigh the risks”

European parliament (EP) President Martin Schulz said he hoped a compromise on Greece would be reached shortly, allowing the country to stay in the euro zone. Speaking at the start of the European Council on 25 June, Schulz said: “We are called upon to carefully weigh the risks and choose the path least likely to make citizens liable for a crisis they have not caused.” He said a deal should also pave the way for improving the sustainability of Greek debt.

The EP president also called for a mandatory system for distributing refugees and asylum seekers, with each member state taking its fair share. Schulz told the heads of states at the summit the EU should look for long-term solutions: “Those who tell people that migration is a problem which can be solved by closing the borders are not telling the truth.”

Stressing that the world had become much more complex and conflict-ridden, Schulz called on the EU to develop a new security and defence strategy. This should be based on a clear long-term vision, policy cohesion, sufficient financing as well as strong alliances and partnerships.

Schulz said bold decisions are called for to improve the governance of the euro and that the democratic legitimacy of the European Economic and Monetary Union should be enhanced: “We want to ensure that the voice of the people is heard in Europe and that democratic scrutiny is upheld.”

On UK plans to reform the EU and its membership, Schulz commented: “If the British government makes concrete proposals that will make the EU more democratic, more effective and transparent and that that deepen the single market, we will certainly be able to reach an agreement.” However, he stressed the plans should benefit everyone: “Solutions can only be found by making proposals that will contribute to the common good. It is about making proposals which do not cater to the domestic debate but will bring added value to all of Europe, proposals which are in the interest of British citizens as much as in the interest of all EU citizens.”

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