(Adds Renzi quote, final statement)
BRUSSELS, Aug 31 (Reuters) - European Union leaders are set to hold an emergency summit on promoting growth and jobs in October at the suggestion of Italy, highlighting their concerns over the fragile economic recovery in the 28-country bloc.
“In recent weeks economic data have confirmed that the recovery, particularly in the euro area, is weak, inflation exceptionally low and unemployment unacceptably high,” read the statement issued after all 28 EU leaders met in Brussels late on Saturday.
The emergency summit will focus on “employment, especially youth employment”, which remains a big thorn in Europe’s side as it seeks to revive a stagnating economy.
Italy has been at the forefront of calls for greater flexibility from strict EU rules on budget deficits, alongside countries such as France, arguing that an excessive focus on German-style austerity has hampered Europe’s recovery.
“Europe must be more than the (bond) spread, rules and economic budgets,” Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi told reporters after the meeting in Brussels.
The latest inflation data for the euro zone showed that the single currency area was inching ever closer to zero inflation, a worrying situation considering its double-digit unemployment rate, stuttering growth and increasing signs of reform fatigue among euro zone governments.
A spokesman for Renzi said the emergency summit to tackle the economic situation would be held on Oct. 7.
A separate summit for the 18 euro zone members would also be held in the autumn. (Reporting by Julia Fioretti and Barbara Lewis; editing by Adrian Croft)