Euro crisis sparks heated exchanges and another summit

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Euro crisis sparks heated exchanges and another summit

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The headlines in Italian papers spoke of a sense of ridicule after leaders at the weekend’s major euro zone crisis summit told Italy’s Prime Minister to come up with a more convincing plan to deal with its towering debt mountain.

Silvio Berlusconi immediately summoned his cabinet to a meeting – and even suggested selling off some of Italy’s properties.

“We are sure to balance the budget by 2013, and from then on to start reducing the debt,” he said. “We could even maybe start reducing it sooner, if we put some buildings which belong to Italian state on the market.”

The specific concerns about Italy relate to the sheer size of its debt – dwarfing that of other troubled countries like Greece – and the lack of Italian economic growth.

European leaders agreed to boost the rescue fund to support the likes of Italy and Spain if needed, but the final details of how that will be done have to wait until another summit on Wednesday.

The British prime minister said all countries should be involved in the euro zone crisis talks, prompting France’s Nicolas Sarkozy to tell him to stop interfering.

David Cameron is facing a commons vote on asking the British people about the UK’s EU membership.

It is most probable he will win, rejecting a referendum, but all eyes are watching how many of his own party vote against him.