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Bonino says don't blame Germany for Italian debt

Budget problems domestic issue, says foreign minister

06 February, 13:15
Bonino says don't blame Germany for Italian debt (ANSA) - Berlin, February 6 - Italy is responsible for its own fiscal problems and should not blame Germany, Foreign Minister Emma Bonino was quoted as telling a German newspaper in a report published Thursday.

"Those who consider Germany responsible for all (problems) not only tell a lie, but behave unfairly," she said in an interview with the Sueddeutsche Zeitung, one of the country's largest dailies.

Some have blamed Germany, the strongest economy in Europe, for having too strong a voice in setting stringent policies concerning debt and deficits for other nations in the Eurozone.

Those policies, in turn, have required Italy to cut deeply on spending and raise taxes during its worst recession in the post-war period.

Italy's debt is now more than two trillion euros.

Bonino said many of Italy's problems are homegrown, but some politicians try to find something external to blame.

"Some political leaders (blame) a scapegoat," she said in the interview.

"We need to correct this setting. The Italian economy has not grown for more than ten years. This is not the fault of some(one) abroad," she added. According to Bonino, Italy has many domestic problems in its economy to deal with, from crumbling infrastructure, to labour market inefficiencies, to an under-performing justice system.

Italy's regionalist Northern League has been a strong critic of Italy's membership in the eurozone, condemning the common currency as the reason for most of the country's problems.