Jan. 6 - Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti warns that the euro zone crisis risks causing tensions and misunderstandings within the bloc. Ciara Sutton reports.
Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti has warned the European Union not to let disagreement over the management of the debt crisis create divisions within the bloc. He told a news conference in Paris that institutions must dispel any concerns among international investors over the solidarity of the single currency. (SOUNDBITE) (Italian) ITALIAN PRIME MINISTER MARIO MONTI SAYING: "I think the main risk is the development of deep-seated misunderstandings between populations and member states with the return to prejudices between north and south, between old and new member states, with a very high potential for division." The euro hit 16-month lows against the dollar and sterling on Friday and hovered near an 11-year low versus the yen. Monti also repeated a call for the EU not to neglect policies to stimulate economic growth, even as it kept up a drive to control public finances. (SOUNDBITE) (Italian) ITALIAN PRIME MINISTER MARIO MONTI SAYING: "Governments of member states should prepare and implement all the mechanisms -- not just to talk about them -- to ensure that there is sufficient ammunition and the means to act in a sufficiently rapid and credible manner." Next week's Italian and Spanish government bond sales are seen as the year's first big tests of the fragile euro zone, and are likely to keep the euro under pressure. As well as debt auctions, the market will await a meeting between French President Nicolas Sarkozy and German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Monday for fresh steps to try and resolve the crisis. Ciara Sutton, Reuters