Under-fire Italy ready to cede sovereignty to EU: minister

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Italy is prepared to give up some control over its own affairs so Europe can be strengthened in its response to the crisis, its foreign minister said Wednesday, as Rome fights off market pressure.

In an interview with German daily Sueddeutsche Zeitung, Franco Frattini said: "We must work seriously on creating a genuine European economic government."

Frattini, a former EU Commissioner, said in comments published in German: "It is no longer enough to govern Europe in an intergovernmental way, sitting around a table."

He said: "Different countries have different ideas about European federalism but Italy is ready to give up all sovereignty needed for a genuine European central government."

The minister said: "For example, the role of the European Central Bank: it should be strengthened as a politically independent institution that can also intervene in an emergency."

Frattini's comments came a day after the interest rate on Italian bonds spiked to a new high as many fear Italy could be the next eurozone domino to fall amid a mounting debt crisis that has already claimed Ireland, Portugal and Greece.

He urged Europeans to stick together to solve crises of this magnitude.

"Italy cherishes its traditions, culture and its constitution. We will remain an independent constitutional state. But when global challenges rise up at us, we need to act globally."

© 2011 AFP

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