Italian PM adds voice to growing chorus against austerity

Italian PM adds voice to growing chorus against austerity
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Enrico Letta, the new Italian prime minister, vowed on Thursday that Italy will pursue further economic reforms.

His predecessor, Mario Monti, tried to revive the country’s economy by cutting spending.

Letta told reporters after talks with European Commission president Jose Manuel Barroso that the focus should shift from austeriy to growth.

“I want the Italian government to do its job by adopting the reforms and policies that will restore our credibility. At the same time, Europe has to find some positive answers to the fatigue towards austerity that its citizens are feeling,” he said.

Barroso echoed Letta’s remarks, pointing to EU plans to guarantee jobs and training for young people as one such policy.

“We have to go further than policies that correct our budget deficits by taking vigorous measures that will make our economies more competitive, but also take step that will bring back a sense of hope, especially amongst young people,” the head of the EU executive said.

The 46-year-old Italian premier has formed a coalition between his centre-left Democratic Party and Silvio Berlusconi’s centre-right People of Freedom party.

Letta’s voice is one of a growing number arguing against deep austerity as means of solving the eurozone debt crisis.

But those calls have been rebuffed by the EU’s main paymasters, Germany. Berlin wants heavily indebted states to slash spending amid deep opposition amongst German voters to further bailouts.