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Merkel praises Italian reforms after meeting Monti

01-12-2012 08:59 BJT

BERLIN, Jan. 11 (Xinhua) -- German Chancellor Angela Merkel praised Italy's reform efforts after meeting with Prime Minister Mario Monti who is on his first official visit to Germany since assuming power last Novembers.

Merkel said at a joint news conference with Monti that the austerity measures adopted by Rome "will strengthen Italy and will improve its economic prospects. We have watched with great respect how quickly they have been implemented."

"The work of the Italian government will be rewarded," the Chancellor added.

Monti said Italy could only make progress within a more helpful European context, calling for recognition of Rome's drastic austerity measures and a drop in interest rates.

"This was a very mature attitude by Italians, and it merits not a reward ... but a recognition by Europe that it doesn't have to fear any more that Italy is a possible source of contagion for Europe," said Monti.

The Italian prime minister warned earlier Wednesday in an interview of possible protest against Europe if Italian people do not see tangible success for the reform efforts, as he has introduced drastic austerity measures including a major assault on Italy's pension system.

Italian borrowing costs have risen above the 7-percent barrier recently that many economists consider to be unsustainable. Due to payback of huge amount of maturing debt this year, Italy needs to borrow heavily in the first quarter. As the third biggest economy in the eurozone, it is a key focus of the current efforts in combating the debt crisis.

Editor:Zhang Hao |Source: Xinhua

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