Eurozone rift deepens over debt crisis

At a joint press conference Angela Merkel, German chancellor, declined to endorse affirmations by all three of her co-heads of government – Italy’s Mario Monti, François Hollande of France and Spain’s Mariano Rajoy – of the need to use the eurozone’s bailout funds to “stabilise financial markets”.

“We need to use all existing mechanisms to stabilise markets, to give confidence, to fight speculation,” Mr Hollande said. “This would be an important step,” he added, endorsing a proposal by Mr Monti that the bailout fund should be used to buy the debt of “virtuous” countries on the open market.

Instead, Ms Merkel said Europe needed to respect existing rules and had to work towards common structures to regulate the euro rather than have policies emanating from “17 parliaments each with national sovereignty”.

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