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Europe has overcome crisis, says Monti

Premier says time is right for China to invest

02 April, 15:32
Europe has overcome crisis, says Monti (ANSA) - Rome, April 2 - Europe has overcome the economic crisis and China should invest in Italy and the eurozone to further strengthen the economy, Italian Premier Mario Monti told international delegates in China on Monday.

"I flew to Asia to ask you to relax a little with respect to the crisis in the eurozone," he said. "I believe it has passed". Speaking at the Boao Forum for Asia, Monti reviewed Europe and Italy's progress in combatting the euro crisis and made an appeal to China to increase investment in Italy and the eurozone. "We have two indicators to check the success of our policies: One is the spread, the other is the extent to which Chinese businesses, banks and industries are interested in Italy," said Monti. Before Monti took office, the spread between Italy's 10-year bonds and the German bund was over 500, whereas today it is 329 after dropping below 300 in March. Addressing delegates such as Chinese Vice Premier Li Keqiang and Pakistani Prime Minister Yousaf Gillani, Monti said he recognized his administration has been viewed with a "mix of apprehension and hope," because Italy "was seen as a possible spark to the fire" in the eurozone when he took the helm of a cabinet of technocrats in November after former premier Silvio Berlusconi was forced to step down.

The premier went on to highlight his administration's measures aimed to spark growth and cut government spending, including labor and pension reform and freeing up the private sector, which have garnered "an unusual amount of support from political parties and the public". Monti also underlined his country's efforts to strengthen the EU's emergency bailout fund, which Eurogroup finance ministers agreed to increase from 500 to 800 million euros last week. "We have been very German in our attention to fiscal discipline, but we have heeded the concerns of the United States, Asia and the International Monetary Fund to urgently ask Europe to act collectively to better equip ourselves against the economic crisis," Monti said.

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