French President Francois Hollande and Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti met in Rome on Thursday to discuss their vision regarding the best way to solve the ongoing financial crisis in the eurozone, according to AFP. The two men have been openly opposed to austerity proposals, favoring initiatives to spur economic growth on the continent instead.
Hollande and Monti's position on austerity measures lies in direct opposition to that of German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who favors strong cuts to bring the budget deficits of individual nations under control. She also has spoken in favor of increasing the integration of Europe's financial systems to promote stability.
Here are some of the key details to emerge from Hollande and Monti's meeting on Thursday.
* Hollande and Monti reportedly spoke about several aspects of the eurozone crisis and possible solutions, including "debt-pooling" and "shared bonds," according to the AFP.
* They also expressed their hope that Greece would decide to stay in the European Union. The nation is due to go to the polls on June 17, and there have been pervasive concerns that voters will opt to leave the eurozone.
* For her part, Merkel had stressed in remarks made earlier that same day that Germany is not able to bolster the entire eurozone. According to the New York Times/International Herald Tribune, Merkel rejected the idea of debt-sharing among the various nations of the European Union, specifically the concept of eurobonds. She has consistently opposed the idea, despite the fact that Hollande heavily favors that option, asserting that the eurozone's economic growth can't be financed by additional borrowing.
* Merkel also stressed that "Germany's power is not infinite," and that the "special responsibility" of being the leading economy in Europe "means that we must be able to realistically size up our powers" in order to serve both its own interests and that of the eurozone, according to the New York Times/International Herald Tribune.
* Leaders from around the eurozone are due to meet for a summit at the end of June. Hollande has reportedly been distributing his plan to combat the economic crisis to member nations ahead of that summit, including to Monti himself on Thursday. Euronews reported that it is titled "Growth Pact for Europe" and includes his plans for the development of eurobonds and other debt-sharing measures.
* Monti is reportedly scheduled to present his own plan in the coming days as well, aimed at cutting unemployment and raising domestic spending.
Vanessa Evans is a musician, traveler, and freelance writer with an interest in European studies and events.