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Are we assisting at the birth of what the La Repubblica headline describes as the “ Monti-Hollande growth axis”? In the wake of the Rome meeting between the head of the Italian government and the French President, the Italian daily reports that the duo are to hold talks with Angela Merkel and Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy on 22 June, ahead of the European Council summit on 28-29 June.

The summit will provide the occasion for François Hollande to present his “growth pact for Europe,” which is supposed to act as a counterweight to the fiscal compact approved by 25 member states in February. “The plan has a three-part structure: growth, financial stability and reinforcement of the monetary union,” notes Le Monde. However, the daily also points out that certain points, notably those relating to a proposed banking union and the reinforcement of the monetary union, are not in accord with the position defined by Berlin —

The Elysée wants the European Central Bank to take charge of the banking union, while Berlin, along with a number of figures within the Commission, would prefer to see more powers granted to the European Banking Authority, which already supervises Europe’s 27 member states. […] François Hollande continues to push for eurobonds, to be introduced in accordance with a road map to be implemented over ten years. Angela Merkel remains opposed the initiative, and has shown no willingness to organise a referendum that would modify the German constitution to accommodate it.

On the eve of general elections in Greece, the French and Italian leaders reaffirmed “their desire for Greece to respect its commitments and remain in the eurozone.” However, at the same time, La Stampa reports that France and Italy are both concerned that “Germany is discreetly pushing for a Greek exit” from the euro. The daily adds that in Berlin —

… the view is that a Greek exit would be manageable, and a scenario in which there is a complete reset of the financial system is an appealing one. Thereafter the euro would be stronger and more controllable, and thus better prepared for the mutualisation of debt, which, under current circumstances, the Germans believe would be far too risky.

This is a scenario which both Monti and Hollande will want to avoid at all costs, adds La Stampa. Monti has argued that France and Italy now represent more than half of the critical mass that stands behind countries in difficulty. His remarks have been viewed as a warning to Berlin not to launch procedures that target Paris and Rome.