Even as she resisted pressure today for common euro zone bonds or a more flexible use of Europe's rescue funds, German chancellor Agela Merkel agreed with leaders of France, Italy and Spain on a €130-billion euros package to revive growth.
After four-way talks in Rome's Renaissance Villa Madama, Italian prime minister Mario Monti said the EU needed to adopt pro-growth measures worth around 1 per cent of the region's gross domestic product at a crucial summit next week.
However, the three cut no ice with Merkel, who leads Europe's most powerful economy and is the main contributor to its rescue funds, towards mutualising Europe's debts or the more flexible use of bailout resources.
"Growth can only have solid roots if there is fiscal discipline, but fiscal discipline can be maintained only if there is growth and job creation," Monti told a joint news conference after talks that lasted just an hour and 40 minutes.
The measures, already being worked out in Brussels, include increasing the European Investment Bank's capital, redirecting unspent EU regional aid funds and launching project bonds to co-finance major public investment programmes. No announcement was made today of any new steps.
The four leaders agreed to move ahead on creating a tax on financial transactions even though not all EU members would be on board.