EUROZONE leaders continued their public bickering yesterday after a survey showed investor sentiment across the single currency sinking for a fifth straight month.
Concerns over the euro area’s debt crisis saw the latest Sentix index fall to a score of minus 30.3 in August, down from minus 29.6 in July, the German group revealed.
The news came as reports in Italy said that French President Francois Hollande was pushing the country to accept a bailout from its European neighbours.
The previous day Italian technocrat Prime Minister Mario Monti had insisted that Italy did not need financial support from Germany, telling a German newspaper that his country only required Berlin’s “moral support”.
Monti warned that tensions between Eurozone states must be eased in order to avoid a “psychological break-up of Europe”.
Yet his concern was later brushed off by a spokesperson for Angela Merkel’s German government, who called for “a greater calm” from fellow Eurozone politicians.
“The German government has not the slightest doubt that all that the European Central Bank (ECB) is doing or will do, will fall within its brief,” Georg Streiter said, suggesting that Merkel at least tacitly supports another round of bond-buying by the ECB.
“ECB interventions can buy the time required for the ongoing and impressive fiscal repair and pro-growth structural reforms to work,” commented Holger Schmieding of Berenberg Bank yesterday.
Meanwhile Merkel’s foreign minister, Guido Westerwelle, warned over “very dangerous” tones being adopted by some Eurozone chiefs. “We must take care not to talk Europe down,” he urged.