ROME – U.S. President Barack Obama called on Italian Prime Minister, Mario Monti to learn about the prospects for the Eurozone before heading off to the meeting of heads of State and Government of the European Union this week.
Italy said in a statement that Obama “is closely following the Italian government’s commitment to facilitate consensus in Europe on policies for growth and stabilization of the securities market of public debt.”
“In this context, President Obama asked President Monti for information on recent developments in the public debate in Italy on the Euro and the impact on public opinion,” he said on the eve of the European meeting. Obama’s call was made at the end of a dark day for new markets, affected by economic uncertainty and skepticism regarding the results of the Brussels summit.
The Milan Stock Exchange ended by being down more than 4%, with losses led by bank stocks.
Meanwhile, the Italian Chamber of Deputies received a bill on labor reform last Monday. The bill must be approved before the summit begins in Brussels on Thursday.
Monti wants to arrive at the summit with the labor reform bill approved so that the initiative will be put to the vote of confidence procedure. The parties of the People of Freedom and Democratic, along with the Democratic Union of Center announced that it will support the reform and considered it essential to tackle the economic crisis.
However, both forces have asked Monti to raise his voice in Brussels in favor of measures to promote growth.
Among the things included in the labor reform bill is the extension of the retirement age for workers.