Italian prime minister, EU president meet on G8, G20 agenda

08:37, June 09, 2010      

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Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi met on Tuesday with the European Union (EU) Council President Herman Van Rompuy to discuss a common European agenda for the upcoming Group of Eight (G8) and Group of 20 (G20) summits.

The EU agenda at the G8 and G20 summits will primarily have four objectives: a tighter stability pact with stricter budgetary rules, more competitiveness, strengthening of the fiscal and economic governance and a more resilient response to financial emergencies.

"We have agreed upon the need of a coordinated approach in boosting EU member states' fiscal policy, economic growth and tackling international financial speculation on raw materials and alimentary goods," said Berlusconi at a joint press conference following the meeting held at the government's Palace Chigi headquarters.

Despite some progress, the crisis still looms over Europe and the road towards recovery is uphill and bumpy, noted Van Rompuy. This is why on these issues the EU needs to talk with one voice.

"The EU agenda at G8 and G20 will focus on launching tighter budget control mechanisms aimed at ensuring fiscal discipline, the stability of the euro-zone and Europe's economic growth," said the EU Council president.

Berlusconi pointed-out that Italy had followed the EU indications by passing an austerity budget plan which curbed public spending but at the same time fostered the economy's revival. Van Rompuy's bilateral meeting with Berlusconi was strategic in paving the way towards stronger economic policy coordination between the EU member states, which will be at the core of next week's EU Council meeting.

The Italian premier praised the work done so far by the newly appointed EU Council president who is at the head of the special task force created to ensure a new European economic governance based on long-term strategies.

Van Rompuy, on the other hand, thanked Italy for its experience and attitude in tackling the global downturn, acknowledging that despite the aftershocks the government had done significant efforts in curbing public deficit level.

"Italy has so far played a central role in the EU's financial stabilization mechanism, contributing to the definition of a common economic strategy," he stressed.

The common goal that unites all EU member states is to "restore confidence" in Europe's financial and economic markets, concluded Van Rompuy.

Source: Xinhua


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