Berlin

Energy commissioner sees Italy as 'almost ungovernable'

Oettinger quoted by German daily Bild

Energy commissioner sees Italy as 'almost ungovernable'

(updates previous with reactions) Berlin, May 29 - European Energy Commissioner Guenther Oettinger described Italy as "almost ungovernable" in an interview published on German daily Bild's website Wednesday. "I'm worried about countries that, overall, are almost ungovernable, such as Bulgaria, Romania and Italy," Oettinger, a German and a member of Chancellor Angela Merkel's Christian Democratic Union (CDU) party, was quoted as saying. "I'm worried because too many people believe that everything is going well. Brussels has not yet recognised the seriousness of the situation. "Instead of thinking about combatting the debt crisis, Europe celebrates its goodness and behaves like an educational institution for the rest of the world". European Commission spokeswoman Pia Ahrenkilde said that the commissioners were politicians and that Oettinger had spoken "as a politician" and not in the name of the EC. Berlin, meanwhile, immediately distanced itself from the comments. "You will never hear expressions like this about Italy from the German government," said spokesman Steffen Seibert, who added that Europe was on the "right road" to solving its problems after the spikes in the eurozone debt crisis in recent years. "We know some countries are in a very difficult situation," said Seibert. "There has been lots of progress. The German government is cooperating with its partners in Europe to overcome the crisis".

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