EU leaders push for $163 billion in measures

EU leaders push for $163 billion in measures

The leaders of France, Germany, Italy and Spain have agreed to push for a 130 billion euro ($163 billion) growth package at a key European Union summit next week.

Italian Premier Mario Monti told a news conference on June 22 after the four-way summit that the leaders recognize that steps taken so far have not been sufficient.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said that a new goal to relaunch growth in the debt-wracked eurozone with one percent of its output was “an important signal” as she urged more unity in Europe. “The lesson of this crisis is more Europe, not less Europe,” she said.

French President Francois Hollande said there could be “no transfer of sovereignty without greater solidarity,” as the leaders of the eurozone’s four biggest economies met to tackle the crisis.

Hollande added that the leaders had agreed on the need for a financial transaction tax.

A transfer of sovereignty would be required for deeper fiscal integration in the eurozone, which Germany Chancellor Angela Merkel is pushing for, but France wants finacial burden sharing to be a higher priority.

Meanwhile the European Central Bank said June 22 it will widen the range of securities it accepts from eurozone banks in exchange for its loans in a move to boost lending to firms and households.

The ECB decided on a reduction in the rating threshold and an amendment of the eligibility requirements for certain asset-backed securities (ABSs), the statement said.