EC President José Manuel Barroso says Italy needs to continue with reforms despite political crisis

Nathan Andrada – Fourth Estate Cooperative Contributor

Brussels, Belgium (4E) – European Commission (EC) President José Manuel Barroso was quoted on Sunday that economic reforms under Prime Minister Mario Monti must continue despite the calling of early elections in Italy, signaling growing international concern about the political turmoil in Rome.

Barroso cautioned that the relative calm from the financial markets does not indicate the crisis is over, therefore economic reforms should not be derailed by the elections.

The EC head told business publication Il Sole 24 that the upcoming Italian elections must not be the pretext for putting into question the importance of economic reforms.

On Saturday, Monti made a surprise announcement that he plans to resign a few weeks before the natural end of his term in April after the approval of next year’s budget. It has prompted speculation that an election in February is imminent.

Italy’s president met Monti on Saturday and official statement from the president’s office said that the prime minister had made his intention to resign to the head of state as he cannot carry out his mandate any further without the support of former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi’s party.

The political crisis was triggered when former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi withdrew his support for Monti’s government in parliament last week and has announced that he will be running again for prime minister on a platform attacking the economic policies of the technocrat government.

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