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Italian officials were particularly irked by a shared smirk between Mrs. Merkel and Mr. Sarkozy at a joint press conference Sunday when they were asked if they had received assurances from Mr. Berlusconi about reducing the public debt.

Italy’s borrowing costs to service its enormous debt have been rising over the past months as the government falters on economic reform. Bank of Italy Governor Mario Draghi has warned that without quick action, the growing yields will eat up a significant portion of the austerity measures that Italy adopted in September under pressure from the European Central Bank, which Mr. Draghi will head from Nov. 1.

For weeks, the ECB has been buying up billions in Italian bonds, trying to keep Italy’s borrowing costs down.

Colleen Barry in Milan and Don Melvin in Brussels contributed to this article.