Face to face meetings seem to be fashionable. European member-state prime ministers and presidents are popping in to talk to one another with an assiduity rarely seen before. Merkel, Monti and Hollande are visiting or being visited by Greece, Spain, the UK, Ireland, various high-ranking ECB and Brussels figures - and the impression is that it is Germany, France, Italy who are initiating all the activity.
The American Ambassador to Italy remarked last week that President Obama calls Monti regularly for updates on the EU and Eurozone affairs; the President regards Mr Monti as a reliable and expert source, according to the Ambassador. They - the Italian prime minister and the US president - are to meet on the margins of the upcoming UN General Assembly it has been announced (which is not to say that the Italian prime minister intends to pursue the American president through the UN building till he has him cornered in the kitchens, as did the United Kingdom prime minister a couple of years ago).
None of these discussions seem to be possible by phone or some other remote link. One wonders who they think will be listening. Of course all states have deviant sectors and services - Italian post-War history is riddled with them and their terrible doings - so there's no reason not to assume other nation states are not equally heterogeneous in their power structures.
34 minutes ago