Italian Premier Mario Monti and French President Francois Hollande agreed on Thursday that the European Union has not yet done enough to tackle the two-and-a-half-year eurozone debt crisis.
"We agree in assessing positively what has been done at the European level, including the intervention to support the Spanish bank system," Monti told a press conference after talking to Hollande for over two hours in Rome.
"What has been done is not a small amount, although it is not sufficient". Monti and Hollande met to confer ahead of a big European Council summit on the euro crisis in Brussels June 28 and 29.
The two leaders have both been calling for greater emphasis to be placed on growth, and Monti said Rome and Paris had a "strong convergence of views about all the issues on the table".
They said promoting growth does not have to come at the cost of relaxing budget discipline in efforts to emerge from the eurozone crisis.
"We agreed that great, and more, attention to growth does not mean abandoning discipline in public finances or giving less attention to it," Monti said. Hollande said that "there is the desire to make growth our aim" in the international community, adding that this could be seen in preparations for the upcoming G20 summit. "We need to mobilise resources immediately for the revival of economic activity, for growth," the French president said.
"Growth, stability and integration are the three principles Europe should focus on". The leaders are lobbying for German Chancellor Angela Merkel to drop opposition to some measures that could restore investors' confidence and take the pressure off heavily indebted countries like Spain and Italy, such as the issuing of euro bonds. Merkel has said there are no magic formulas to get out of the crisis and argued that the way forward is more discipline with public finances, even though austerity packages have deepened economic difficulties in many parts of Europe, and greater fiscal integration.