EU plan essential to prevent market attack: Monti
Failure to reach a deal at next week's EU summit would leave the bloc open to attack by speculators, Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti warned in comments published Friday.
The technocratic leader also predicted rising public anger if the economic situation deteriorated in an interview with leading European newspapers, which included Britain's Guardian and Italy's La Stampa.
"There would be progressively greater speculative attacks on individual countries, with harassment of the weaker countries," the Guardian quoted him as saying.
"The attacks would be focused not only on those who had failed to respect EU guidelines, but also on those like Italy."
Monti was speaking before talks in Rome on Friday with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, French President Francois Hollande and Spain's Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy, which are aimed at laying the groundwork for next week's crucial meeting of EU leaders.
If no credible plan emerged, Monti warned "the frustration of the public towards Europe would grow.
"To emerge in good shape from this crisis of the eurozone and the European economy, ever more integration is needed," he insisted in comments published in Friday's Guardian.
He stressed that even the usually pro-European Italian parliament was having second thoughts about deeper integration due to the ongoing crisis.
Monti's diplomatic skills will be put to the test on Friday, as he is called to mediate between the eurozone's biggest economies as they race to find common solutions to the fierce debt crisis.
The talks come ahead of the summit in Brussels on June 28-29 and the leaders are under intense pressure from international partners for greater unity on divisive issues.
Troubled Eurozone nations leapt into action Thursday, agreeing to swiftly save Spain's banks and sending a "troika" of international creditors to Greece as soon as Monday for an "update" on its reform programme.
The Spanish government will formally request eurozone financial assistance on Friday, said France's new Finance Minister Pierre Moscovici after Madrid said it could need up to 62 billion euros to save its distressed banks.
© 2012 AFP