Helsinki

Monti says Italy ok now, but may need 'oxygen' in future

'We do not need special help now'

Monti says Italy ok now, but may need 'oxygen' in future

(ANSA) - Helsinki, August 1 - Italy does not need special help right now, but that does not mean it will not need a shot of "oxygen" to help it breath in future, Premier Mario Monti said Wednesday. Monti is travelling across Europe this week urging his counterparts to work collectively to lower borrowing costs across the region. In an interview with Finnish daily Helsingin Sanomat, Monti is quoted as saying that Italy at this time does not need special help, but that could change. "The basic idea is that Italy does not seem to need special aid right now, especially not to save its economy," Monti said in the interview. But it might need "a breath of air" in the future, he said, adding he feels frustration that Italy's painful reforms have not yet been reflected in lower interest rates. Monti, who met Tuesday with French President Francois Hollande, is meeting Wednesday with Finnish Prime Minister Jyrki Katainen in Helsinki. Monti and other leaders have been pushing for rapid implementation of a June European Union summit agreement that would ease the way for purchase of distressed sovereign-debt with the region's rescue funds. In the Finnish newspaper interview, Monti also explained the importance of the crisis tools available to European countries, and why these may be needed by "virtuous" countries such as Italy, which have been making concerted efforts domestically to deal with the crisis. "We're thinking of a possible intervention in various combinations," involving the temporary rescue fund, the permanent European Stability Mechanism (ESM) and the European Central Bank, he said. Finland, the most northern member of the eurozone, has taken a very hard line on rescue packages, insisting on strict terms of austerity and collateral before participating. Monti moves on to meet with Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy on Thursday to discuss stepping up efforts to resolve the crisis. Their meeting will coincide with a session of the ECB, its first meeting since ECB President Mario Draghi cheered markets and heightened expectations after pledging he would do "whatever it takes" to save the euro.

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