Monti aims to win over Finland, Netherlands on bond plan
(ROME) - Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti said Tuesday that he would try to persuade an unwilling Finland and the Netherlands to play ball on using theEuropean Stability Mechanism to stabilise bond markets.
"We will try to overcome opposition from countries like Finland and the Netherlands, which have a certain intolerance towards stability mechanisms," Monti said a day before debt crisis talks with German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
The deal reached at an EU summit in Brussels last week, which bolstered confidence in the euro and brought swift relief to crisis-hit Italy and Spain, must be "crystallised and consolidated" at eurozone talks on July 9, he said.
Finland and the Netherlands this week voiced their concern about the accord to use the European Stability Mechanism (ESM) to buy bonds on the secondary market to ease the punishing borrowing costs that have dogged more vulnerable eurozone economies.
Monti, who had hosted four-way talks in Rome in preparation for the big summit in Brussels, said the results "constitute a step forward towards the Europe that we Italians want: more geared towards growth and more stable."
Eurozone leaders had cobbled together 120 billion euros to boost growth.
Monti has been hailed in Italy for persuading Berlin to make a major concession over the ESM's role in the debt crisis and said the EU summit had allowed leaders to tackle the previously taboo subject of eurobonds.
The Brussels talks "addressed questions which were considered taboo until a short time ago, such as the sale of eurobonds," he told the Senate, adding that some countries had discussed them unwillingly, "with little pleasure."
While the Italian prime minister has been pushing for eurobonds, with tentative support from Spain and France, Germany has firmly quashed the idea.
Germany has also insisted using the ESM to directly help rescue ailing banks will need progress on a banking union in Europe.
Though France has strongly resisted the idea of ceding more of its sovereignty, Monti has called for greater integration.
Europe "cannot just represent a bodice of rules, sanctions, monitoring procedures: it must also be positive integration," he said Tuesday.
The former EU commissioner, whose popularity has waned at home amid a series of austerity packages and reforms, has faced rising political pressure from bickering parties which would be able to bring him down by withdrawing support.
Monti is thought to have put pressure on Merkel by telling her that he risks being ousted before his time runs out in April 2013 if the crisis intensifies.
He appeared to react to increasing speculation there may be early elections by telling the Senate "there will be much interaction between the Italian and European fronts until spring 2013 -- the time the government has ahead of it."
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