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Merkel confident on EU budget deal, as Monti urges pro-growth budget


16:04, February 01, 2013

BERLIN, Jan. 31 (Xinhua) -- German Chancellor Angela Merkel expressed an optimism towards the upcoming EU summit on the long-term budget, saying it is set to be fruitful.

"I am very optimistic that on the question of the EU budget in a long run, we will be successful, and we will reach on an agreement," Merkel said, just ahead of a talk with visiting Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti in Berlin.

"Italy and Germany are net payers and have common interests, but naturally these talks won't be easy because Italy will also state its case clearly," she said.

Monti, who is busy with lobbying around European countries with his proposition on a pro-growth stance and solidarity methods, had called the due share on Italian contribution to EU budgets comparatively exorbitant to his debts-plagued country.

"It is also important for Italy's contribution to be proportionate and fair compared to that of other net contributors," Monti said, adding that it was not justifiable for Italy to pay "more by its relative wealth", as he called for the system of rebates in favour of some countries shall be even more transparent and fair.

EU leaders will meet in Brussels next week to discuss the 2014-2020 budget of the 27-nation bloc, which failed to agree on a budgetary deal at an earlier meeting in November.

"In the last 10 years Italy has become a net contributor and has paid more than could be justified by its relative level of prosperity, to the point that in 2011 it was the top net contributor to the EU budget," Monti said.

Monti stressed that as far as Italy was concerned, it was essential for an overall financing program designed by the EU to sustain the economic growth and employment, commensurate with its ambitions and solidarity.

"Of course we can't have growth in Europe if there is not some level of investment," Monti said, stressing he was "disappointed" about the focus on austerity in the budget debate.

Monti also met European Commission chief Jose Manuel Barroso and European Council head Herman Van Rompuy earlier on Thursday in Brussels and is slated to talk with French President Francois Hollande in Paris on Sunday.

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