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Monti Says European Crisis Management, Populism Led to Defeat

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Feb. 28 (Bloomberg) -- Defeated Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti blamed crisis-management mistakes at the European level and populism at home for this week’s electoral drubbing that threw Italy into political chaos.

Monti faulted the “central and northern European” approach to the debt crisis for keeping Italy’s interest rates too high for too long and undercutting domestic support for his overhaul of the Italian economy.

“You do the right policies, but you don’t get the recognition, then there may be a backlash against the right policies and the coming-up of political forces that oppose the right policies,” Monti said at a conference in Brussels today.

Monti, who finished fourth in the Italian election, said he paid a political price for refusing to seek the extra time to reduce Italy’s budget deficit that was granted to countries such as Spain and Portugal.

As political blocs jockeyed for position in Rome, Monti said the next government should press ahead with reforms and deregulation that he said will “significantly” boost Italy’s growth “if fully implemented.”

Monti, who served on the Brussels-based European Commission for a decade, said there is a risk that economic policies in Europe’s interest will be derailed by “the most simplistic, some would say populist” forces.

To contact the reporter on this story: James G. Neuger in Brussels at jneuger@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: James Hertling at jhertling@bloomberg.net

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