EU pushes more moves to stem debt crisis

Sat Sep 8, 2012 7:39pm EDT
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By Francesca Landini and Lisa Jucca

CERNOBBIO, Italy (Reuters) - European Union officials pushed on Saturday to accelerate moves to stem the bloc's long debt crisis as Italian premier Mario Monti warned that economic suffering was fuelling divisive nationalism on the continent.

Monti said he had proposed an EU summit in Rome to discuss the rise of anti-European populism, divisions between north and south and nationalistic prejudices that have been fostered by resentment against austerity measures.

"Old stereotypes and old tensions have re-emerged," Monti said. "There are many manifestations of populism that are aimed at disunity in nearly all the member states," he told journalists at an economic conference in northern Italy.

Monti's remarks at a joint news conference with European Council president Herman van Rompuy underlined the urgency of overcoming a crisis that has lasted close to three years.

Van Rompuy said he supported Monti's idea and favored bringing forward a meeting to foster European integration from its originally scheduled date in late 2014.

Michel Barnier, the EU commissioner in charge of financial regulation, called in a Reuters interview at the conference for swift joint oversight of all euro zone banks.

Euro zone-wide banking supervision should be introduced by next January, despite German reservations, he said.

That provided a new focal point in the crisis fighting two days after the European Central Bank announced a plan to buy bonds of weak member states to push down their borrowing costs.   Continued...

European Council President Herman Van Rompuy (L) shakes hand with Italy's Prime Minister Mario Monti during the Ambrosetti workshop in Cernobbio, next to Como, September 8, 2012. REUTERS/Paolo Bona