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Monti chides Berlusconi failure to raise Italy's profile

Suggests Italy's foreign presence hurt under predecessor

16 January, 15:07
Monti chides Berlusconi failure to raise Italy's profile (ANSA) - Rome, January 16 - Outgoing premier Mario Monti says if he is returned to office he will enjoy a higher profile and be a far more respected international face for Italy than has been his predecessor and current opponent Silvio Berlusconi.

Monti, the technocrat who resigned as caretaker premier to stand for election next month, took some aggressive shots against the former premier Wednesday.

He suggested that Berlusconi was so poor at his job representing Italy to the world that other international leaders rarely called him or thought about Italy.

"Often, when we have been abroad we've heard: 'it has been years since we saw a premier," of Italy, claimed Monti, who is leading a centrist coalition for election on February 24 and 25.

All that has improved, Monti added, since he became premier in November 2011. Since then, Italy's global reputation has become "trusted financially and, more generally, has been restored", he added during comments at a forum organized by the Italian trade institute ICE.

As Monti spoke, organizers of the prestigious World Economic Forum announced that Monti will take part in the opening of the 43rd edition of the event that begins January 23 in Davos, Switzerland. The blue-chip conference attracts leading international figures in finance, central banking, and key politicians. Monti will share the stage with Russian Premier Dmitry Medvedev, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Microsoft founder Bill Gates, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, and International Monetary Fund Managing Director Christine Lagarde.

Opinion polls suggest Monti could hold the balance of power in the next parliament, where the centre-left Democratic Party may not achieve a majority in the Senate.