Germany, Italy vow to 'protect eurozone'
BERLIN — German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti pledged to do everything necessary to protect the debt-wracked eurozone, a statement said on Sunday.
Following a telephone conversation Saturday, they "agreed that Germany and Italy will do everything to protect the eurozone," Berlin said in a statement.
The statement followed a similar pledge by the leaders of France and Germany on Friday and a statement on Thursday by the head of the European Central Bank, Mario Draghi, to "do whatever it takes to preserve the euro."
Merkel and Monti also called for an EU agreement reached at a crunch summit on June 28 and 29 to be implemented "as quickly as possible."
The accord last month paved the way for the eurozone's future 500-billion-euro ($616 billion) bailout fund to recapitalise ailing banks directly, without adding to the national debts of struggling countries.
Merkel also invited Monti to come to Berlin "in the second half of August", an invitation that the Italian leader accepted, the statement added.
The public pledges of support by eurozone leaders have spawn speculation in financial markets that they are readying coordinated action to bring down the borrowing costs of Italy and Spain, currently seen as unsustainable.
All eyes are on the monthly meeting of the European Central Bank on Thursday to see whether the bank will resume its disputed programme of buying bonds of struggling eurozone nations.
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