Europe must not slacken in its reforms: EU’s Van Rompuy

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BRUSSELS (Reuters) – The European Union cannot afford to relax its economic reform programs even as the 27-nation bloc makes progress building a framework to protect itself from financial shocks, European Council President Herman Van Rompuy said on Monday.

“I see a tendency of losing the sense of urgency both on short-term policies and on (the) longer term. This must not happen,” Van Rompuy said in a video on his website.

“As long as 25 million people are looking for a job and as long as we have not fully stabilized the euro, we cannot sit back,” said Van Rompuy, one of the European Union’s top officials, who chairs summits of Europe’s heads of state and government.

Markets have rallied on the European Central Bank’s decision to launch a conditional bond-buying program, but the euro zone is slipping into recession and there are concerns about the pace of reforms in Italy and France, two of Europe’s main economies, as well as the situation in Spain.

(Reporting by Robin Emmott- editing by Rex Merrifield)

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