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Economy

Hollande, Monti, Rajoy confront Merkel at Rome euro crisis meeting

media Italy's Mario Monti (L) with German Chancellor Angela Merkel (C) and French … Reuters/Francois Lenoir

France’s newly elected President François Hollande will have the support of Italy and Spain in pressing Germany’s Angela Merkel to accept growth policies in the eurozone at a summit in Rome Friday.

Hollande, along with Italy’s Mario Monti and Spain’s Mariano Rajoy, are expected to argue

Parliamentary elections 2012

for an end to German-backed austerity-only policies at the four-nation summit, called by Italy in the belief that the eurozone crisis is reaching a critical point.

Hollande has proposed a 120-billion-euro growth pact that would include a financial transaction trust and infrastructure investments to create jobs.

But France has backed down on its call for eurobonds, that would mean the zone adopting common

Dossier: Eurozone in crisis

responsibility for sovereign debts, and proposed “eurobills” with short maturities and limited volumes.

Monti has called for the eurozone’s bailout fund to intervene on bond markets and, in an interview with several European newspapers, claimed that failure to reach a deal will mean attacks by speculators on “weaker countries”.

Spain’s government is to formally request eurozone financial assistance on Friday after indicating that it could need up to 62 billion euros to save banks.

The US, the European central Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) have all called for greater banking integration in Europe, with IMF chief Christine Lagarde, attending a finance ministers’ meeting in Luxembourg, implicitly criticising German opposition on Thursday.

The finance ministers continue to meet Friday with their counterparts from Britain and other non-euro European states present. The UK is likely to oppose growing demand for a financial transactions tax.

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