(Reuters) - Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti repeated the goal of achieving a balanced budget by 2013 but said there was scope for discussion about how budget targets could be adjusted during serious recession.

The object of balancing the budget by 2013 is not in discussion, he said during a joint news conference with French President Nicolas Sarkozy and German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

There does exist a more general question which apples to the global economy and certainly for the European economy and that is what happens if you enter a phase of recession that is greater than expected, if and by how much and how public finances need to be adjusted to take account of variations in the cycle, he said.

He also expressed support for the idea of commonly issued euro zone bonds, saying they could make a significant contribution once a closer fiscal union was in place.