Merkel Calls on Italy’s Politicians to Stick to Reform Path

German Chancellor Angela Merkel urged Italy to stick to the path of reform after the success of anti-austerity parties in February’s election.

“Now in Europe after the Italian elections it seems to be a case of either austerity and savings programs or growth, but that’s a completely false premise,” Merkel said today in a speech to an event in northeastern Germany hosted by her Christian Democratic Union party.

Her stance on cutting deficits is “not about liking to whip people,” Merkel told CDU members in Greifswald, in her electoral district. Budget cuts are not incompatible with growth, rather growth depends on sound finances, she said.

Political instability looms in Italy after Pier Luigi Bersani failed to gain control of parliament at the Feb. 24-25 election as former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi and Beppe Grillo won blocking minorities in the Senate. Bersani has said he aims to ease the reforms imposed by outgoing Prime Minister Mario Monti, while Grillo is anti-austerity and Berlusconi has criticised cuts “imposed by Germany.”

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