France, Germany and Italy have total confidence in the European Central Bank and its leadership to handle the euro zone crisis and will refrain from making demands of it, French President Nicolas Sarkozy said on Thursday. "We all stated our confidence in the European Central Bank and its leaders and stated that in respect of the independence of this essential institution we must refrain from making positive or negative demands of it," Sarkozy told a news conference after meeting his German and Italian counterparts in the eastern French city of Strasbourg. Sarkozy, who has been pressuring Berlin to let the ECB act more decisively to halt a rush out of euro zone bonds, said that proposals to modify EU treaties, being seen as a trade-off for a stronger ECB role, would be presented ahead of a December 9 EU summit.

The modifications would seek to improve euro zone governance and ramp up economic policy convergence, he said. Sarkozy said that Italy's new Prime Minister Mario Monti had invited him and Merkel to continue their three-way talks in Rome in the near future, and they had accepted.