Never said willing to join Berlusconi govt -Cottarelli (4)

Agreement on programmes can only come after election

Never said willing to join Berlusconi govt -Cottarelli (4)

Rome, February 13 - Former spending review commissioner Carlo Cottarelli on Tueday denied ex-premier and centre-right leader Silvio Berlusconi's assertion he had said he was willing to join a centre-right administration if it wins the March 4 general election. Speaking to ANSA, Cottarelli said "I thank the parties and movements that have contacted me on this but the participation in a government requires agreeing with the concrete programmes on what to do." He stressed that "such agreement can only come after the elections. "I should therefore like to clarify that I have not expressed willingness to any side to participate in any form in a future government," Cottarelli said. He added: "I believe that all citizens should feel honoured to serve their country contributing to the activity of government. "But at the moment I am continuing to carry out my role as visiting professor at Bocconi University and director the observatory on public accounts". In this role I will continue to comment on the debate on public finances in an impartial way". Earlier Berlusconi said Cottarelli would head up a new spending-review ministry if the centre right wins the March 4 general election. "I heard from him yesterday and he said he was willing, he will be one of those who will be in our government team," Berlusconi said. Cottarelli, 64, who has a degree from the London School of Economics, is a former International Monetary Fund economist who is visiting professor at Milan's Bocconi University as well as head of the observatory on public finances. From 2013 to 2014 he served as spending review commissioner for the centre-left governments of Enrico Letta and Matteo Renzi. He was said to be frustrated that many of his recommendations were not acted upon.

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