Europe 'partly to blame' for Italy result, Verhofstadt says
'Monti asked for help, instead we patted him on the back'26 February, 16:26
(ANSA) - Brussels, February 26 - Europe is partly to blame for the uncertain outcome of Italy's general elections, Guy Verhofstadt, leader of the Lib Dem group in the European parliament, said on Tuesday.
"The European Union also has its share of responsibility because it failed to answer Mario Monti's repeated calls for help in lowering interest rates on public debt," he said.
Useful responses might have been the creation of a redemption fund or the partial sharing of the debt across the eurozone, the former Belgian premier said.
"Instead the only thing Monti got from his colleagues was a pat on the back". Verhofstadt added that European leaders needed to "learn the lesson" resulting from the Italian elections, which saw massive gains by populist forces led by ex-premier Silvio Berlusconi and Genoa comic Beppe Grillo and left no alliance or party with a clear majority in parliament. "Fiscal discipline is absolutely necessary, but by itself it is not sufficient to combat the crisis," he said. "The incorporation of austerity measures with solidarity and policies for growth is not a choice but a duty," he concluded.