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Europe leaders discuss Brexit gameplan

Monday, August 22, 2016 - 01:47

The leaders of Germany, France and Italy are meeting to discuss how to keep the European project together. As Sonia Legg reports, it's the second set of talks between the premiers of the euro zone's three largest economies since Britain's shock vote to leave the bloc.

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It's a symbolic location. Two Italian intellectuals were held on the island of Ventotene during the second world war, writing a manifesto calling for European political unification during their imprisonment. With Brexit posing a new threat to the European Union - the leaders of the euro zone's three top economies are perhaps keen to make a similar declaration. But it may not be that easy. (SOUNDBITE) (English) INDEPENDENT MARKET ANALYST, JEREMY BATSTONE-CARR, SAYING: "There are still some very profound structural problems for the euro zone to address, of course Mr Renzi has his own major political Waterloo in October with the constitutional reform referendum and of course it is on to national elections in Germany and France next year." Officials in Berlin and Brussels fear the Brexit vote could lead to a similar referendum in the Netherlands - a founding member of the union. Merkel's stressing she wants to cement "a better Europe" rather than "more Europe." But the region's economy isn't helping her. Bank lending continues to be weak despite the best efforts of the European Central Bank. (SOUNDBITE) (English) INDEPENDENT MARKET ANALYST, JEREMY BATSTONE-CARR, SAYING: "I suspect that the leaders will want to emphasise the fact that Europe is as open for business as it possibly can be despite continuing disquiet over persistently weak economic activity." The three leaders differ over how to put things right. France supports Renzi's push to reject the austerity measures favoured by Germany. It's a difficult circle to square even with spiritual support from Italian intellectuals. And Merkel perhaps knows it - she's travelling to four European countries this week and receiving leaders from another eight.

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Europe leaders discuss Brexit gameplan

Monday, August 22, 2016 - 01:47