(For more on the euro area’s debt crisis, see EXT4.)
Jan. 6 (Bloomberg) -- French President Nicolas Sarkozy and German Chancellor Angela Merkel will travel to Rome Jan. 20 to meet Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti for talks to precede a European Union crisis summit 10 days later.
Including the head of the euro area’s third-largest economy contrasts with the Franco-German pattern as the financial crisis deepened of forging a common position in bilateral talks. It may mark a vote of confidence in the unelected Monti, who has pushed through budget cuts demanded by the EU after the resignation of Silvio Berlusconi.
“Monti’s courage inspires confidence,” Sarkozy said today in Paris after the two met. “France and Italy share identical views on Europe’s future and how to resolve crisis of confidence.”
With the sovereign debt turmoil in its third year and Greece in its seventh month of talks on a second bailout, leaders of the 17 euro nations are racing to draft the fiscal rulebook promised at a Dec. 9 summit. Greece is negotiating an agreement to cut its debt load by half, while credit-rating companies are contemplating region-wide downgrades.
“Every country must carry out its promised structural reforms which are fundamental to raising the level of confidence to bring interest rates down to levels that are more in line with the real economy,” Monti said today.
Comments by Sarkozy and Italian Economic Development Minister Corrado Passera suggested a joint push for a greater European Central Bank role, a move Merkel has resisted.
Europe must have a “real central bank with the tools to do the job on stability and liquidity in the markets,” Passera said at a conference in Paris today. Sarkozy said “all EU members and institutions must meet their responsibilities.”
--Editors: James Hertling, Eddie Buckle
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