The United States and the world economy have a great interest in efforts being made to bolster Europe and the eurozone, U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner said on Thursday, hours before a high-stakes EU summit.
In a meeting with Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti Geithner said the leaders of Europe were working to strengthen the financial firewall that is essential for economic reforms to have a chance to work.
"The world can be encouraged by the progress of the last few weeks," Geithner told a press briefing in Milan.
"The U.S., the world economy have a very strong interest in the efforts being made to strengthen Europe," he said.
Geithner was in Milan on the last stop of a whistle-stop tour of Europe to lobby for action on the eurozone's sovereign debt crisis ahead of an EU summit on Friday.
Geithner expressed support for Monti, who was hurriedly sworn in last month to push through austerity reforms to try to pull the eurozone's third-largest economy back from the brink.
"Mr. Monti has committed to a very strong program of economic reforms to restore confidence and strengthen Italy's ability to grow in the future.
"He has a lot of credibility, not just in Europe, but in Washington, New York and around the world," Geithner said.
Monti said he and Geithner had discussed some key issues for the future of the eurozone such as possible treaty changes, the set up of firewalls to stop contagion from the crisis and the role the international community and the IMF can play in such a delicate moment.
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