Exclusive: EU calls emergency meeting as crisis stalks Italy
European Council President Herman Van Rompuy has called an emergency meeting of top officials dealing with the euro zone debt crisis for Monday morning, reflecting concern that the crisis could spread to Italy, the region's third largest economy.
European Central Bank President Jean-Claude Trichet will attend the meeting along with Jean-Claude Juncker, chairman of the region's finance ministers, European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso and Olli Rehn, the economic and monetary affairs commissioner, three official sources told Reuters.
...two official sources told Reuters that the situation in Italy would be discussed. The talks were organized after a sharp sell-off in Italian assets on Friday, which has increased fears that Italy, with the highest sovereign debt ratio relative to its economy in the euro zone after Greece, could be next to suffer in the crisis. A second international bailout of Greece will also be discussed, the sources said.
Monday's emergency meeting will precede a previously scheduled gathering of the euro zone's 17 finance ministers to discuss how to secure a contribution of private sector investors to the second bailout of Greece, as well as the results of the stress tests of 91 European banks.
In Germany on Sunday, President Christian Wulff said Greece would need a lot longer to resolve its debt problems than many people in Europe were now acknowledging.
Wulff, a former leader in Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservative Christian Democrats and now Germany's ceremonial head of state, told ZDF television there was a need for "an overall concept" for resolving Europe's debt crisis.
Watching developments in the EU over the past several decades has been fascinating. Until the last 12-18 months, the EU appeared to be an unstoppable force as rapid growth had been taking place for several years and the government grew in leaps and bounds as multiple laws and regulations were enacted.
Then the financial woes began to creep in and now, suddenly, we have the EU nations seemingly lined up awaiting their turn to play Greece. Now Italy appears next in that line with Spain and Portugal not far behind. How much longer can the EU support these countries?
As mentioned before, something has to happen - probably something large - for this Roman Empire II to morph into the 10 kings stage. For this reason any perception of crisis in the EU is of great interest, and this is one that we should watch closely.