EU leaders promise further steps to quell crisis
"The fact that the situation in the financial markets is now better than before should not be seen by the governments as a way to procrastinate," European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso told reporters.
Much of southern Europe faces another year of grinding recession with record unemployment and deepening poverty that will tear at the fabric of wounded societies and may push governments' efforts to reduce deficits further off course. With Silvio Berlusconi vowing to contest an Italian election early next year, a full bailout of Spain still on the cards and a German election in September casting a long shadow, 2013 promises to be the EU's fourth turbulent year in a row, even without risks from bailout victims Greece, Ireland and Portugal. Italy is a particular concern if the next government rows back on any of the economic reforms put in place by technocrat Prime Minister Mario Monti, whose time in office has helped stabilise financial markets and stave off the crisis.
Several participants at a pre-summit meeting of centre-right leaders in Brussels urged Monti to stand as a
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