Rome

Monti meets PdL secretary after spread storm

Berlusconi's party furious about premier's comments

Monti meets PdL secretary after spread storm

(ANSA) - Rome, August 8 - Italian Premier Mario Monti will meet the secretary of Silvio Berlusconi's People of Freedom (PdL) party on Wednesday after his controversial comments on Italy's bond spread. Monti said Italy's bond spread with respect to the German benchmark would be around 1,200 points, almost three times its current level, if Berlusconi's government were still in power. The premier called Monti on Tuesday to say he was sorry about the storm caused, with one senior PdL member suggesting the party could withdraw its support for the government. PdL Senators also deserted their seats in protest on Tuesday to make it impossible for the Upper House to reach quorum and do much of its last-minute business before the summer recess. In the House, PdL MPs caused the government to lose a procedural vote in the House on its 26-billion-euro package of spending-review cuts, although the bill won definitive approval later in the day. The spread is an important indicator of investor confidence in Italy's ability to weather the eurozone crisis. Wednesday's meeting between Monti and PdL Secretary Angelino Alfano had already been scheduled before the furore over the comments on the spread. Earlier on Wednesday, Monti met Pier Ferdinando Casini, the head of the centrist UDC party that also supports the former European commissioner's emergency technocrat government.

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