ITALIAN PRIME MINISTER Mario Monti said in an interview published hours before hosting talks with German Chancellor Angela Merkel that the two wanted growth but not at “the expense of budgetary discipline.”
The Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung quoted Monti on its website as saying that after last Thursday’s Brussels EU summit the press should have written “Angela + Monti = a step forward for European economic policy.”
The Italian leader has been a prominent advocate of growth policies, and the deal at last week’s EU summit was widely seen as a victory for Monti and Spanish premier Mariano Rajoy.
But Monti rejected the impression that there had been deep differences between him and Merkel over debt mutualisation, the German daily said.
He explained that while Italy had gone for growth, it was “not at the price of budgetary discipline” which is treasured by Merkel.
He said that in Brussels he had contributed through a “classical negotiation method” to working towards “growth and financial stability” in Europe.
Monti conceded that his government would find it “impossible to reform the country from top to bottom in a year and four months” but he said he hoped that the government would “bring Italy out of the financial crisis to take the road to growth.”
A press conference is scheduled in Rome later today following the talks between the two European leaders.