'Top 4' euro zone finance ministers to meet in Paris
PARIS (Reuters) - The finance ministers of Germany, France, Italy and Spain will meet in Paris on Tuesday evening as the euro zone's top four members try again to resolve their differences ahead of a European Union summit later in the week.
The same four countries' leaders met last Friday in Rome, and French President Francois Hollande and German Chancellor Angela Merkel - split over whether to offer weak euro states more financing guarantees - will hold eve-of-summit bilateral talks this Wednesday.
"We are in an active phase of preparation for this summit," French Finance Minister Pierre Moscovici said, announcing Tuesday's talks in an interview on France Info radio.
"We want to work with Germany," he said, asked about the pressure on Hollande and other EU leaders to reach an agreement robust enough to persuade skeptical financial markets that they can bring the bloc's spiraling debt crisis under control.
"Tomorrow there is a meeting, which will be very important, between Francois Hollande and Angela Merkel and this evening I will receive the finance ministers ... along with the European Commissioner," Moscovici said.
Hollande wants measures like mutualised debt and joint bank deposit guarantees to be worked on at the same time as moves towards deeper fiscal integration, while Merkel is insisting on an accord on closer integration before any other steps are taken.
Merkel dashed any lingering hopes in markets on Monday that she would agree to Europe issuing common bonds any time soon to underpin its single currency, after Spain formally became the fourth state to request a financial rescue.
Hours later, Cyprus became the fifth.
German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble, Italian Deputy Economy Minister Vittorio Grilli and Spanish Economy Minister Luis de Guindos were expected to attend Tuesday's meeting in Paris, along with EU Economic and Monetary Affairs Commissioner Olli Rehn.
There was no immediate information on whether there would be a news conference or joint statement following the talks.
EU leaders meeting in Brussels on Thursday and Friday are expected to agree on a growth package pushed by Paris worth around 130 billion euros ($162 billion) in project bonds, reallocated structural funds and European Investment Bank loans.
They will also discuss proposals for a cross-border banking union offering deposit guarantees and integrated supervision and proposals to move towards closer fiscal integration, which Merkel wants agreed before considering collective solutions like euro bonds. ($1 = 0.8013 euros)
(Reporting By Catherine Bremer; Editing by John Stonestreet)
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