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4:55pm UK, Friday June 22, 2012
The leaders of the eurozone’s four top economies have agreed the European Union should boost growth by adopting a series of measures worth about 130bn euro.
Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, French President Francois Hollande and Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy held talks in Rome.
Mr Monti said the four leaders had agreed that kickstarting growth in the eurozone was key to restoring confidence.
He said: “The first objective we agree on is to relaunch growth, investments and to create jobs.”
He said the leaders agreed that while much had been done to stem the euro crisis, there was still more work to do.
The Italian leader told reporters: “We want there to be a significant European growth package, that is worth about 1% of Gross Domestic Product (GDP), or 130bn euro.
“Growth can only have solid roots if there is fiscal discipline, but fiscal discipline can be maintained only if there is growth and job creation.”
Ms Merkel hailed the move as “an important signal”, adding: “the lesson of this crisis is more Europe, not less Europe”.
The talks come ahead of a crucial full European Union summit in Brussels next week aimed at resolving the debt crisis.
Mr Monti said the message the four nations want to come out of the forthcoming meeting in Belgium on June 28-29 is that the euro will survive.
He said the meeting should “put at ease the financial markets expectations”, adding “that the euro is here to stay and we all mean it”.
“The great project which has been successful until now, the euro, is irreversible.”
Mr Hollande added that the four leaders had agreed on the need for a financial transaction tax.
The French president also said there could be “no transfer of sovereignty without greater solidarity”.
A transfer of sovereignty would be required for deeper fiscal integration in the eurozone, which Ms Merkel is pushing for, but France wants financial burden sharing to be a higher priority.