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June 27, 2017

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Euro leaders to stimulate growth with US$163 bil.

ROME/LUXEMBOURG -- The leaders of the eurozone's four top economies vowed new measures to support growth by mobilizing up to 130 billion euros (US$163 billion) as they met for talks Friday in Rome.

French President Francois Hollande said the leaders had agreed to mobilize "1 percent of European GDP, that is 120 to 130 billion euros, to support growth," a move Germany's Angela Merkel hailed as "an important signal."

"The lesson of this crisis is more Europe, not less Europe," Merkel said after the talks, which come ahead of a crucial full European Union summit in Brussels next week aimed at resolving the ferocious debt crisis.

"We need to work closer together politically, especially in the eurozone. Whoever has a common currency must also have coherent policies. That is also a lesson from the last two years," Merkel said.

Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti said the four leaders had agreed that kickstarting growth in the eurozone was key to restoring confidence.

"The first objective we agree on is to relaunch growth, investments and to create jobs," Monti said.

"The euro is here to stay and we all mean it. The great project which has been successful until now, the euro, is irreversible," he added.

Monti told a news conference after the four-way summit that the leaders recognize that steps taken so far have not been sufficient. He said both markets and EU citizens need to view the euro as "irreversible.''

Hollande added that the leaders had agreed on the need for a financial transaction tax.

In a sign of continued discord, however, Hollande said there could be "no transfer of sovereignty without greater solidarity" within the eurozone.

Hollande said on Friday that it should not take 10 years to create jointly underwritten euro bonds that are a vital instrument for Europe.

"I consider euro bonds to be an option ... but not in 10 years," Hollande told journalists after a meeting.

"As long as there is a union, an integration, euro bonds will be a useful instrument in Europe and I will continue to work in this direction," he added.

Hollande said that before European states abandoned sovereignty to a central authority in Brussels that greater solidarity was needed between nations.

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