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Berlusconi Says Not Leaving Politics, Calls for Stronger ECB

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Italy's Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi
Silvio Berlusconi, Italy's former prime minister. Photographer: Dan Kitwood/Pool via Bloomberg

Nov. 13 (Bloomberg) -- Silvio Berlusconi said his resignation as Italian premier isn’t a sign that he’s leaving politics, and called on the European Central Bank to become a lender of last resort to save Europe’s single currency.

“For those who say I am leaving the scene, I want to make it perfectly clear that tomorrow I will re-double my efforts in parliament to renew Italy,” he said in a video message broadcast to the nation today. “I won’t give up until we have managed to modernize Italy, to reform its institutional architecture, its justice system, its tax system.”

Berlusconi, 75, resigned yesterday after his parliamentary majority evaporated as Italy lost the confidence of investors amid Europe’s worsening sovereign-debt crisis. He said agreeing to back a government led by former European Union Competition Commissioner Mario Monti was an act of responsibility.

“We must be united to confront a crisis that was not born in Italy, it wasn’t born because of our debt, or because of our banks, it wasn’t even born in Europe,” Berlusconi said. “It’s a crisis that became a crisis because our common currency doesn’t have the support that a real currency must have.”

Berlusconi called on the ECB to take a more active role in backing the euro.

We “need a bank that is a lender of last resort, a guarantor of the currency that other currencies such as the dollar and sterling have,” he said. “That’s what the ECB must become if we want to save the euro and Europe.”

To contact the reporter on this story: Andrew Davis in Rome at abdavis@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Craig Stirling at cstirling1@bloomberg.net

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