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Italian PM: 'Only A Week To Save The Eurozone'


From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Robert Siegel in Washington, D.C.


And I'm Melissa Block wrapping up a week at NPR West in California. First this hour, to Rome, where the leaders of the eurozone's biggest economies met today with a sense of urgency. They agreed to a growth package. But as NPR's Sylvia Poggioli reports from Rome, they did not reach consensus on how to end Europe's debt crisis.

SYLVIA POGGIOLI, BYLINE: Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti had warned there's only a week to save the eurozone. But Monti, French President Francois Hollande and Spain's Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy did not budge German Chancellor Angela Merkel from her insistence on budget discipline before disbursing financial aid to EU partners. The leaders agreed that austerity alone will not save the euro. They announced a multibillion euro package to revive economic growth. And in a bid to reassure markets, Monti said the single currency is irreversible.

PRIME MINISTER MARIO MONTI: The euro is here to stay, and that we all mean it.

POGGIOLI: But no new measures were announced, and the four leaders disagreed over whether and how to launch joint bonds, which economists consider key to combating the debt crisis. French President Francois Hollande showed irritation with Merkel's reluctance, saying it should not take 10 years to create jointly underwritten euro bonds. And at the end of the press conference, the Italian host and former EU commissioner showed disappointment and recalled what he considers the first serious violation of eurozone rules.

MONTI: (Foreign language spoken)

POGGIOLI: In 2003, Monti noted, Germany and France deviated from EU rules. He said it took us nearly 10 years to rebuild a credibility that had been shattered not by Greece and Portugal but by the two main members of the eurozone. The meeting lasted just an hour and a half. Sylvia Poggioli, NPR News, Rome. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Sylvia Poggioli is senior European correspondent for NPR's International Desk covering political, economic, and cultural news in Italy, the Vatican, Western Europe, and the Balkans. Poggioli's on-air reporting and analysis have encompassed the fall of communism in Eastern Europe, the turbulent civil war in the former Yugoslavia, and how immigration has transformed European societies.