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Euro's big four agree to EU growth boost

Friday, June 22, 2012 - 02:25

The leaders of Germany, France, Italy and Spain have agreed on a 130 billion euros package to try to revive economic growth in Europe but differed over whether and how to launch joint bonds to combat the euro zone's debt crisis.

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So far, the euro zone crisis has proved a political football no one leader can handle. Finding a little common ground was the goal as the leaders of the euro zone's four biggest economies met in Rome. The main message from the leaders of German, France, Italy and Spain - a European Union package worth 130 billion euros, to promote growth as an answer to austerity. French President Francois Hollande. SOUNDBITE: French President Francois Hollande, saying (French): "A number was given, one percent of European GDP could be mobilised with a timescale which matched as much as possible the mechanisms we have, so that we could mobilise these funds as fast as possible." Hollande made positive noises about a financial transactions tax Germany would like to see across European Union. Although Germany has changed course on that, and will now focus on having the levy introduced by a small core of countries. German Chancellor Angela Merkel. SOUNDBITE: German Chancellor Angela Merkel, saying (German): "We are doing everything we can to fight for the euro, which is our currency and which we all benefit from, and to make it ready for the future, just as it was a stable euro over the last ten years. To do this we need to overcome some problems. Somethings have already been achieved, the countries have carried out lots of reforms. Above all, we have developed instruments of stability and solidarity together." Germany is resisting pressure for less strict euro zone fiscal policies or moves to issue common euro zone bonds. They're favoured by Italy and Spain, who have seen their borrowing costs rocket to levels considered unsustainable in the long term. Getting Germany to change its view on this won't be easy. If the leaders needed any reminder of how unpopular the current direction is, they only needed to look outside. A strike by Italian unions over austerity crippled public transport, leaving long queues for too few taxis. The pressure is increasing on European leaders to put a definitive end to the crisis. The four said they'd laid good groundwork for the summit of all EU leaders next week. Andrew Potter, Reuters

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Euro's big four agree to EU growth boost

Friday, June 22, 2012 - 02:25