David Cameron met Mario Monti in Rome today (the cycle of visits by various heads of government has started up again - Merkel to London, Merkel to Lisbon, Cameron to Rome...). Afterwards Senator Monti said he would like to "take the opportunity to express satisfaction with the final go-ahead for EU funds to be used for work in Emilia-Romagna that we have been examining intensively over the last days".
The Economic and Financial Affairs Council (Ecofin), made up of EU finance ministers, announced today that 670 million euros in
assistance for northern Italy, severely damaged by earthquakes last spring, is to be released. The two prime ministers were on the Eight O'Clock News enthusiastically shaking hands and patting each other on the back despite the Italian prime minister regretting the poor fit of the two countries' plans for the EU budget.
'Italy and France issued a joint call last week to abolish
the rebate system which grants Britain - and to a lesser extent
other countries - a reduction in contributions to the European
Union budget.' reports Ansa, the Italian news agency; perhaps a sensible compromise was reached.
Hitchins and Booker in tune
3 hours ago