Berlusconi promises Merkel 'rapid' reforms before G20
Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi on Tuesday promised to take "rapid" action on economic reforms ahead of the G20 summit this week in a phone call with German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
Berlusconi told Merkel that "the Italian government is determined to introduce the measures rapidly," his press office said in a statement.
"They agreed to launch close consultations between them in the coming hours ahead of the G20 summit in Cannes," the statement said.
Italy suffered a drubbing on financial markets on Tuesday with the stock market losing 6.8 percent and borrowing rates on two-year and five-year bonds hitting record highs, indicating investor concern over Italy's finances.
Berlusconi had sought to ease market concern and pressure from Italy's eurozone partners last week with promises to increase the pension age, launch a privatisation programme and reform labour laws to make firing easier.
The prime minister, who returned to Rome early from a trip to Milan as markets dropped, was due to hold talks later on Tuesday with several ministers ahead of a possible cabinet meeting this week, ANSA news agency reported.
Foreign Minister Franco Frattini meanwhile postponed a scheduled four-day trip to Australia which was due to start on Tuesday.
The cabinet is expected to discuss a faster than anticipated implementation of key economic reforms in a bid to calm investors.
© 2011 AFP