(Adds quotes from Hollande and Letta)
ROME Nov 20 France and Italy called on
Wednesday for euro zone finance ministers to have a full-time
chairman after European Parliament elections in May.
Speaking after meeting with Italian Prime Minister Enrico
Letta in Rome, French President Francois Hollande said the euro
zone needed to complete its banking union and set up a joint
borrowing mechanism to finance investment.
"A third objective is to have euro zone governance, which
means a chairman of the Eurogroup who can be named for a fixed
period and work full-time," Hollande told a news conference.
The proposal follows a similar agreement between France and
Germany in May on creating a full-time president of the
17-nation currency area's ministers.
According to a document released to journalists at the
meeting, Hollande and Letta also urged an EU summit in December
to agree on a resolution mechanism for failing banks.
It also called for the possibility of direct
recapitalisation of banks by the so-called European Stability
Mechanism, the permanent crisis resolution mechanism for the
countries of the euro area.
Germany, loath to share liability for rescuing other
countries' banks, has been resisting this move, which it says
would require a change in its national legislation.
"It is absolutely necessary the December European Council
allows the launch of the banking union," Letta told journalists.
Earlier, protesters threw smoke bombs and clashed with
police in central Rome while Letta met Hollande in the capital.
The scuffles broke out around the Campo de' Fiori central
square where people had gathered to protest against a high-speed
rail link being built between France and northern Italy.
(Reporting by Julien Ponthus and Gavin Jones; writing by Leigh
Thomas; editing by Mark John, Paul Taylor and David Evans)