Italy may officially be in recession but the mood between its premier Mario Monti and visiting German Chancellor Angela Merkel was definitely up beat.
Both were keen to praise each others efforts in dealing with the euro zone crisis, but neither appeared to be complacent.
Latest economic data has shown Italy’s economy shrank last year but market pressure is easing with a fall in its short term borrowing costs.
However, Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti said more effort was needed: “The most acute phase of the euro crisis appears to be definitely over, but this is no reason for us to relax.”
German Chancellor Angela Merkel added: “We must improve our growth and competitiveness in a world that has changed a lot, where competitors outside Europe become stronger and stronger.”
But while Merkel heaped praise on Monti’s new taxes, pension changes and cuts in public spending, ordinary Italians held a protest showing they were less enthusiastic. They see themselves as bearing the brunt of austerity measures which they firmly lay at the door of Germany and the European Central Bank.