Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti held talks on efforts to protect the eurozone with his Finnish counterpart Wednesday, seeking to mend ties with one of the most outspoken critics on the debt crisis.
Monti entered talks with Jyrki Katainen at the Finnish premier's official residence in Helsinki around lunchtime, according to AFP correspondent at the scene, and they are to hold a joint press conference later in the afternoon.
The Italian leader is also due to meet President Sauli Niinistoe and the speaker of parliament Eero Heinaeluoma on his one-day visit.
The trip is the latest of a series of visits to European capitals as part of Monti's efforts to persuade reluctant members of the single currency zone to help shore up the euro.
In an apparent swipe at Finland and the Dutch, Monti last month denounced "northern" EU states for taking positions that contributed to spikes in borrowing costs for Italy and Spain, accusing them of undermining the euro's "credibility".
Katainen has said that while all eurozone members want to save the single currency, he has admitted that "differences concern the kind of measures which that would require".
A big problem is that "countries and people do not trust each other as much as before," the premier added on July 11.
Hopes for a concerted effort to address the two-and-a-half-year debt crisis were raised last week when European Central Bank chief Mario Draghi vowed to do "whatever it takes" to preserve the euro.
Finland, one of the few eurozone countries that has retained a top AAA credit rating, regularly asks for collateral when heavily-indebted partners ask for financial assistance.© ANP/AFP