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Berlusconi says eurozone in 'state of emergency'

07 May 2010, 23:21 CET
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(BRUSSELS) - Italian leader Silvio Berlusconi told fellow euro chiefs on Friday that the eurozone is in a "state of emergency", his spokesman told reporters.

"We are in a state of emergency, we need to take decisions," Berlusconi told fellow eurozone leaders at a summit in Brussels, his spokesman said.

Italy found itself in the speculators' firing line on Friday, with its stock market falling sharply amid growing unease over its high levels of debt.

The original reason for the extraordinary summit of leaders of the nations sharing the euro was to sign off a multi-billion euro bailout package for Greece, which has been foremost in the speculators' sights.

Previously Italy had been relatively sheltered, with not only Greece but Portugal and Spain seen as ahead of it in the firing line.

But the Milan bourse was panicked on Friday, shedding over four percent by the close, amid rumours, denied, of a downgrading of the country's credit rating.

On Thursday Italy revised down its growth estimate from 1.1 percent to 1.0 percent in 2010 and raised its public debt estimate from 116.9 percent of output to 118.4 percent.

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