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Monti Says Italy Level of Contribution to EU Budget Unjustified

The level of Italy’s contribution to the European Union budget is unjustified and the system should be revamped to increase fairness, Prime Minister Mario Monti said today in Berlin before a meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

Italy has been the biggest net contributor to the European Union budget since 2011, Monti told reporters at a press conference with Merkel.

“In the last 10 years, Italy has become a net contributor and has paid more than what was justified by its level of relative prosperity,” Monti said. The budget system must become more “transparent and fair” and promote growth and solidarity, he said.

EU leaders will meet Feb. 7-8 in Brussels to try to strike an agreement on the EU’s next seven-year budget. An initial summit on the 2014-2020 spending plan in November failed to reach an accord when poorer countries balked at subsidy cuts and richer countries battled to maximize their rebates.

Merkel told reporters in Berlin today she’s confident an agreement will be reached, though talks “won’t be easy.”

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