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Merkel urges Rome to back eurozone

By Earle Gale in London | China Daily | Updated: 2018-05-30 09:05

German Chancellor Angela Merkel gestures as she speaks at the Global Solutions Summit 2018 in Berlin, Germany, May 28, 2018. [Photo/Agencies]

Comments follow Italy almost ending up with an anti-establishment govt

With voters in Italy now headed for the latest in a quick succession of national elections, German Chancellor Angela Merkel is urging whoever ends up running the country to continue to support the European Union's eurozone.

Reuters reported that the German leader is worried about the economic situation in Italy and the political volatility in the eurozone's most indebted country after Greece.

Merkel, arguably Europe's most powerful politician, said she will work with any Italian coalition government, as long as it stays within the rules of the eurozone.

"We should talk with every government but we have principles within the euro area and of course there will be difficult questions," Reuters cited her as saying.

Her comments followed Italy almost ending up with a radical, anti-establishment government.

The prospect of such a government forming eased at the weekend when several potential partners abandoned their efforts to form a government after a standoff with President Sergio Mattarella that saw him veto the group's choice of a euroskeptic for economy minister.

The deadlock means Italy will hold fresh elections while a former International Monetary Fund official will hold the reins temporarily as interim prime minister.

Merkel noted that solutions to economic crises, such as in the case of Greece, can be found.

"Look, when there were elections in Greece and Alexis Tsipras was made premier, there were many questions on the table," she told reporters in Berlin.

"We spoke with each other over many, many nights. Together, we achieved something. We have to do that task, since Italy is an important member of the EU."

Italy is the third-largest economy in the 19-member eurozone, after Germany and France.

Volker Treier, foreign trade chief at Germany's DIHK Chambers of Industries and Commerce, welcomed the euroskeptics' failure to grab power in Italy.

"That is a relief for German businesses," he said.

And Michael Roth, Germany's Europe minister, said Berlin hopes Italy will soon form a stable and pro-European government.

Bloomberg, meanwhile, reported that Merkel is partly blaming bankers and the financial crisis for the rise in populism that has undermined countries, including Italy.

"We saw it during the international financial crisis: Many of the bankers who walked off with lots and lots of money and never had to work again in their life are partly responsible for millions of people becoming unemployed," Merkel said while participating in a panel discussion at the Global Solutions Summit in Berlin.

"People naturally ask themselves whether that's fair."

Far-right politician Matteo Salvini, who was one of those trying to form the radical coalition government in Italy, now plans to turn the next round of voting in Italy into a referendum on the euro, according to Britain's Daily Express newspaper.

The paper said the political crisis means there will be months of uncertainty in Italy and predicted the situation will likely boost anti-EU sentiment.

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