Rome

Monti calls for flexibility from Germany, warns of backlash

Premier warns of growing anti-German resentment

Monti calls for flexibility from Germany, warns of backlash

(ANSA) - Rome, August 6 - Italian Premier Mario Monti has called for greater flexibility from German Chancellor Angela Merkel over how the European Union tackles the eurozone crisis and suggested there could be a backlash if this does not occur. The German government and the Bundesbank have blocked several possible measures to ease the crisis, such as the issuance of eurobonds to share the debt burden and the idea of giving the soon-to-be-launched ESM rescue fund a banking licence. Merkel has repeatedly argued that the only way to restore confidence in the under-fire single currency in the long term is for eurozone countries to show budget discipline and concede sovereignty to achieve greater fiscal integration. Monti said in an interview with German weekly Der Spiegel that "more flexibility" had to be given to eurozone countries that are trying to put their economic houses in order for Italy's current policy of rigour and tough economic reforms to "have a future". He added that he had told Merkel he was very worried about "the growing resentment in the Italian parliament against Europe, against the euro and against the Germans". Last week Monti said next year's general elections in Italy could produce a Euro-skeptic government if the country's borrowing costs remained as high as they are at the moment. Monti pointed out that Paris and Berlin are not without fault for the current crisis as France and Germany were the first countries to break EU's Stability and Growth Pact in 2003. He also stressed that so far Italy had not had any aid from Germany or the EU. On the contrary, he said, the crisis has pushed Italy's borrowing costs up and in doing so helped lower the interest rates on German bonds. He concluded that Italy wanted the "moral support, not financial" of its EU partners.

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