New PM: Italy Will Have EU At Heart Of Its Actions

Published November 22, 2011 5:54PM (EST)

BRUSSELS (AP) — Italy new prime minister, a former European commissioner, returned to Brussels on Tuesday with a promise to keep the EU at the heart of his government's work.

Prime Minister Mario Monti also said that growth and fiscal discipline could coexist.

"I don't see any contradiction between rigor in public finance and growth via structural reform," he said, following a meeting with European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso.

The two men made little financial news at their joint news conference, but it was clear that the mood between Rome and Brussels had greatly improved now that Monti had taken over from Silvio Berlusconi as prime minister.

"I and my government will be doing all that we can to place Europe at the heart of our activities," Monti said.

Barroso, who has worked with Monti at the EU in the past, was just as warm. "He has my full confidence and high personal esteem," he said.

The Commission is the EU's executive arm. Later, Monti met with Herman Van Rompuy, president of the European Council, made up of the 27 EU heads of government. Van Rompuy said he had expressed his full confidence in the prime minister.

By Salon Staff

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