Merkel and Italian PM agree to speed up reforms
German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti have agreed that the European Union's summit conclusions last month must be implemented "as quickly as possible" after speaking by phone over the weekend.
Ms Merkel and Mr Monti "agreed that Germany and Italy will do everything to protect the euro area", a German government spokesman said yesterday.
Mr Monti has also agreed to travel to Berlin for talks with Ms Merkel in the latter half of August.
Their weekend chat came as troika representatives decided they might extend their stay in Athens until the Greek government has completed work on a two-year €11.5bn budget plan, according to a Greek finance ministry official.
Members of the troika -- from the IMF, EU and the ECB -- were originally due to leave at the end of July and return at the end of August to complete a review on progress of the government's budget cuts for this year and plans for 2013 and 2014.
That would have led to a significant delay in the next disbursement of loans to Greece, said the finance ministry official.
He added that the troika will assist in identifying budget savings. They will then depart Athens to write the review which will open the way for the payment of the funds. (Bloomberg)