As the world’s major central banks acted jointly to ease the storm hitting the global economy and banking sector, Europe’s finance ministers also gathered in Brussels.
The pressure to protect the euro zone’s weakest members has become so intense, many openly urged the IMF to step in, notably to save Italy, now the focal point of this debt crisis.
Italy’s new prime minister Mario Monti, who had also come to Brussels to take part in the talks, said: ‘‘As Italy is the third largest economy in the euro zone, it’s important for Italy to be alongside France and Germany to come up with ideas and political proposals to develop the euro zone and find a solution to this crisis and the future of the European Union. At the same time, we want to maintain the good links with EU institutions.’‘
German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble also said Germany was coming round to a bigger IMF role, but still insisted the single currency’s weakest members had to reform.
“The problem is we can only solve this crisis of confidence in the euro and in Europe as a whole by proving that we are capable of solving our problems in a credible way. This demands a great deal of political effort from certain countries,’‘ Schäuble said.
Berlin is pushing for treaty changes to force euro zone countries to change their budgets if they breach their deficits.
But as our correspondent Andrei Beketov explains: “If the euro and markets are up its not because of what’s happening here in the EU Council but because of the joint action taken by the world’s biggest central banks. This decisive and coordinated move could lead the way to ease the current financial strains. The initiative is certain to dominate discussions between leaders when they meet in Brussels next week.’‘