Italy's Monti says ECB could soften crisis stance

ROME Mon Dec 5, 2011 9:20am EST

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ROME Dec 5 (Reuters) - A decision to boost the euro zone bailout fund, combined with Italy's austerity package and IMF action, should convince the European Central Bank to take more action, Prime Minister Mario Monti said on Monday.

European politicians have been hoping that the ECB will agree to step up purchases of sovereign bonds to hold down borrowing costs in Italy and other vulnerable nations if there were clearer signs of binding budget action from euro zone governments.

ECB President Mario Draghi hinted last week that the central bank might consider some kind of action if policymakers agreed on a "fiscal compact" for the single currency area.

Monti said European leaders meeting in Brussels on Thursday and Friday would provide decisive guidelines on the ingredients needed to calm the crisis.

He said better budget enforcement, an increase in firepower for the European Financial Stability Facility and involvement of the International Monetary Fund would persuade the ECB to move.

"I believe this combination of these factors, including what Italy, my government, did on Sunday, will induce the ECB to re-assess, in full independence, their future policies."

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