France is 'good example' to Italy, Germany says
France's austerity measures set a good example to Italy which must show "the will" of its political decision-makers to undertake structural reforms, the German government's spokesman said Wednesday.
"The government, the chancellor personally, respects the decision of Prime Minister (Silvio) Berlusconi to not stand again at the next election," Steffen Seibert told a regular news briefing.
"Italy is a significant economic power, Italy has a debt problem," he said.
"It must now restore confidence, and especially confidence in the ability and the will of all political decision-makers in Italy to put Italy financially on the road to emerging out of debt, remove hindrances to growth and introduce the necessary structural reforms which increase Italy's competitiveness," Seibert said.
Berlusconi has said he will step down once a key economic reform law is adopted in parliament, effectively announcing the end of a political career spanning two decades.
Seibert went on to say that France was a "good example of responsible action" with its austerity package, which, he said, aimed to stem public expenditure and reduce debt.
"That is a reliable announcement with a concrete timeframe for implementation which is in a position of bringing back trust in a country on the markets," he said.
The French government Monday unveiled a 65 billion euro ($89 billion) programme of budget cuts and tax hikes, including 18.6 billion euros in savings over the next two years, with the goal of eliminating the country's budget deficit by 2016.
Italy's slow growth and massive debt of 1.9 trillion euros is fuelling fears that it could be the next victim of the debt crisis gripping Europe after Greece, Ireland and Portugal were forced to seek bailouts.
© 2011 AFP