Italians will vote to keep country on right path: Merkel

11th December 2012, Comments 0 comments

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Tuesday that reforms carried out by Prime Minister Mario Monti had put Italy on a good path and that the people would vote to continue along this road.

Speaking at a joint news conference with visiting President Almazbek Atambaev of Kyrgyzstan, Merkel said: "I support what Mario Monti's government has put in place."

The reforms he has carried out have resulted in Italy winning back at least part of the confidence of the financial markets, she added.

"Therefore the Italian people will clearly vote to put Italy on a good path," Merkel said.

Stock markets sold off sharply and borrowing costs soared after a weekend of political drama in Italy in which Monti said he would soon step down and predecessor Silvio Berlusconi announced a return to politics.

Berlusconi on Tuesday set the tone for his upcoming election campaign accusing Monti of being "German-centric" and said that all the main economic indicators had worsened since the former Eurocrat was installed in power.

Monti has been credited with pushing through some much needed reforms in Italy and markets rewarded him by pushing down borrowing costs that at one point were so high a bailout looked likely.

Heavily-indebted Italy has the eurozone's fourth biggest economy and severe financial problems there would represent a fresh chapter in the 17-nation bloc's ongoing debt crisis.

Both the European Central Bank and Germany's foreign minister warned on Monday that any new Italian leader must continue reform efforts.

© 2012 AFP

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