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Mario Monti is urging all EU member states to agree on the European budget at the upcoming summit at the start of February.

Discord could lead to the unravelling of the 120 billion growth pact forged six months ago.

It was meant to stem fears of excessive EU austerity. But many states face stringent domestic cuts, undermining the pact’s message.

“There will be no coherence between all the language we employ to talk about growth and the adoption of a budget that does not go along with this,” Monti told his audience in Brussels.

And, as often happens at a gathering, the people present found themselves discussing those who weren’t, like the British and their referendum plans.

“I think that (a referendum) is very healthy because it would finally, for the first time, ask the British people to reflect – not only on the huge benefit for them psychologically to make things difficult for us on the continent (laughs from the audience) – but on what the costs would be for them of saying goodbye to the single market,” Monti said.

Our correspondent in Brussels, Margherita Sforza, says Mario Monti will continue his visit around Europe, as he tries to rally support for a common stance on the upcoming budget. This week he is expected in Germany for a meeting with Chancellor Angela Merkel and afterwards in France with President François Hollande.

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