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Mario Monti (r) hosted Angela Merkel (l), Francois Hollande and Mariano Rajoy for four-day talks in Rome this afternoon. Andrew Medichini/AP

Four biggest Eurozone countries to push for €130 billion stimulus

France, Germany, Italy and Spain agree to lobby for a €130 billion growth plan at next week’s summit in Brussels.

THE HEADS of government of the eurozone’s four largest countries have agreed to lobby for a €130 billion economic stimulus plan at next week’s summit of EU leaders, in an effort to kickstart the European economy.

French president Francois Hollande, Germany’s chancellor Angela Merkel, and Spanish prime minister Mariano Rajoy agreed to the deal at a meeting hosted by Italian premier Mario Monti in Rome today.

Monti told a news conference after the four-way summit that the four all recognised that steps taken so far have not been sufficient.

He said both markets and EU citizens need to view the euro as “irreversible”, something he implied was not the case at present. “The euro is here to stay, and we all mean it,” he said.

A plan to “relaunch growth” was the “first objective” in tackling the currency crisis, Monti added.

Hollande added that the leaders had agreed on the need for a financial transaction tax, though a meeting of the EU’s 27 finance ministers in Luxembourg – attended by Michael Noonan – ended with no firm agreement on the introduction of an EU-wide transaction tax.

Noonan said that while nine countries had agreed to such a tax, Ireland would not adopt such a measure unless the UK was also doing so – as levying such a tax in Dublin, but not in London, could see businesses leave the IFSC in favour of London instead.

Additional reporting by AP and AFP

Read: Noonan to continue promissory note campaign at Eurozone ministers’ meeting

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