In meetings with Italy's caretaker prime minister, Van Rompuy and Barroso stress importance of continued reform.
Herman Van Rompuy, the president of the European Council,
José Manuel Barroso, the president of the European Commission, have reiterated
their support for Mario Monti, Italy's caretaker prime minister, and his reform
Monti held talks in Brussels yesterday with José Manuel
Barroso, the president of the European Commission, and today (28 February) with
Van Rompuy, following an inconclusive election in Italy earlier this week
narrowly won by the centre-left Democratic Party.
Monti's centrist alliance received 10.5% of votes for the
lower house of parliament and 9.1% for the Senate, less than half the support
garnered by the anti-establishment movement of comedian Beppe Grillo.
Van Rompuy said in a statement after the meeting that Monti
will still represent Italy at the next European Council, on 14-15 March, which
will deal with the co-ordination of economic, fiscal and employment policies.
In his statement, Van Rompuy backed Monti and his policies.
“The structural reforms implemented so far in Italy have helped to restore
market confidence and its international credibility,” Van Rompuy said.
Van Rompuy made it clear that he expects any new
administration to continue the Monti reforms. “If continued they will
significantly raise Italy's growth potential,” he said. “Italy has also put its
public finances on a sounder footing which is an essential condition to ensure
Barroso and Monti issued a joint statement after their
meeting last night. “Both are convinced that continued and determined action at
European and national levels is needed to ensure that the return of confidence
into the euro area is sustained,” it said. “The crisis is not yet over and
efforts must not be relaxed. This implies pursuing commonly agreed and
differentiated reform and consolidation efforts to create growth and jobs and
enhancing competitiveness, while ensuring financial stability.”
“The Commission believes that Italy is undergoing an
ambitious reform process that, if fully implemented, will significantly raise
its growth potential,” the statement continued. “Italy has also put the public
finances on a sounder footing which is an essential condition to ensure
“President Barroso expressed his full
confidence that Italy, as one of Europe's and the world's biggest economies,
will ensure the conditions of political stability in the interest of Italy and
Europe as a whole,” it concluded.
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