Europe Economy

Europe Stocks Seen Lower; Euro Debt Crisis in Focus

European stocks are expected to fall at the open with the DAX, FTSE and CAC all called lower by more than 1 percent by spread betters.

The losses follow heavy losses on Wall Street on Friday and in Asia overnight amid fears over the health of the US economy and the euro zone debt crisis.

Over the weekend a meeting of politicians, economists and business leaders on Lake Como outside of Milan saw Italy's austerity measures and possible changes to Silvio Berlusconi's 45 billion euros ($63.45 billion) plan take center stage.

Italian Economy Minister Giulio Tremonti used the meeting in Ambrosetti to repeat his call for a euro bond warning that without one "we will have critical problems." 

The comments followed a warning by European Central Bank president Jean-Claude Trichet that Italy must follow through on its austerity program, which was agreed with the ECB in return for the central bank's support in the bond market.

It is “essential that the target that was announced to diminish the deficit will be fully confirmed and implemented," Trichet said. 

Berlusconi's austerity program does not go far enough according to former UniCredit CEO Alessandro Profumo. Speaking in an interview with Italian daily Corriere della Sera, Profumo warned that Italy needs an additional 400 billion euros in austerity measures  to bring its debt-to-gross domestic product ratio below 100 percent.

The ECB is expected to discuss the buying of Italian bonds at its meeting in Frankfurt this week.

Ahead of an interview with CNBC on Monday, former German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder told Der Spiegel that we need a "United States of Europe" to avoid further crisis, adding that governments will have to give up national sovereignty.

The comments came as Germany debated the breakdown in talks between the Greek government and officials from the EU, ECB and the International Monetary Fund on Friday.

Christian Lindner, deputy leader of Germany’s junior coalition partner Free Democrats, said “the breakdown of talks [between] the Troika and Greece is a blow to the stability of the euro” and claimed Athens is shirking its responsibilities on austerity.

A German court will rule on the legality of the Greek bailout packages on Wednesday.

A regional election over the weekend saw support for Angela Merkel's center-right coalition fall sharply, with the opposition Social Democrats soaring.

Greece's finance minister said on Sunday that the government was speeding up structural reforms and dismissed reports about a breakdown in relations between Athens and its international lenders.

On Friday the Greek government will learn how many private investors have signed up to its debt swap deal.