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EU summit to focus on economic slump, stimulus measure


BRUSSELS, March 19 (RIA Novosti) - European Union leaders will gather for a two-day summit in Brussels on Thursday which will focus on the global economic slump, aid to non-eurozone states and energy issues.

The 27 countries are due to hammer out a common position on the issues ahead of a Group of 20 summit on April 2 in London, where major economies are expected to focus on boosting the global economy and steering the world out of recession.

The EU, criticized by the U.S. for its reluctance in giving more support to economies within the alliance and measures to curb growing unemployment, may reach an agreement on increasing the earlier announced 25-billion euro ($33.6 billion) stimulus package for EU member states that do not use the euro and that have been badly-hit by the global downturn.

European states have cautioned on the dangers of focusing too much on rescue plans, and have instead opted for reform of financial markets and lending organizations.

European leaders will also discuss allocating 3.5 billion euros ($4.7 billion) on energy projects and decide on the future of the Nabucco gas pipeline, an alternative to supplies from Russia where disputes with neighboring transit nations have led to brief cutoffs in supplies. Germany, Italy and France have raised concerns on the feasibility of the project in the current climate.

The summit agenda also includes the EU's ties with ex-Soviet states under the Eastern Partnership project and the Lisbon Treaty, a replacement for the EU Constitution that has been ratified by 23 of the 27 member states.

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