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UK 'blocking quake region cash'

Italian premier Mario Monti has vowed to ensure Britain and others did not succeed in blocking £536 million in European Union funds for a region hit by back-to-back earthquakes this year.

Mr Monti's office said the manoeuvring was "completely unacceptable" and a grave breach of the EU's principles of solidarity.

Twenty-four people died in two temblors that struck the productive agricultural and industrial Emilia Romagna region in May.

Italian news reports have said Germany, the Netherlands, Finland, Britain and Sweden were holding up the funds in negotiations over the EU budget.

Mr Monti spoke with the European Parliament and European Commission presidents this weekend.

His office said both assured Mr Monti they would work to free up the funds.


From Belfast Telegraph