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Emergency EU meeting amid fears Italy could be next in crisis

Herman Van Rompuy has called top officials together for talks as the markets show jitters over Italian government debt.

Herman Van Rompuy
Herman Van Rompuy
Image: Dan Morar/AP/Press Association Images

THE PRESIDENT OF the European Council has called top officials together for an emergency meeting as fears grew that Italy could slide into economic crisis.

Herman Van Rompuy scheduled the talks for tomorrow morning after interest rates on Italian government bonds reached Euro-era highs of 5.28 per cent on Friday, Reuters reports. The rates reflect a sell-off of Italian assets by financial markets nervous that the country could be next on the growing list of EU nations in serious difficulties.

Van Rompuy’s spokesman insisted that the talks were “a co-ordination, not a crisis meeting”. However, other sources are understood to have confirmed Italy will be on the agenda. According to the Sunday Telegraph, Italy will require €500billion of funding from financial markets by the end of 2013 and it’s feared rising interest rates on its sovereign debt could prove an impossible burden as the country struggles to make repayments.

One senior ECB official told Reuters: “We can’t go on for many more days like Friday. We’re very worried about Italy.”

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Michael Freeman

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