Monti row with Austria over bailout claims

Tim Wallace
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ITALIAN Prime Minister Mario Monti hit out at Austria’s finance minister yesterday, declaring her comments about his government’s finances “inappropriate”.

Austrian Maria Fekter had said Italy may need a Eurozone bailout because of its high borrowing costs.

“Italy has to work its way out of its economic dilemma of very high deficits and debt, but of course it may be that, given the high rates Italy pays to refinance on markets, they too will need support,” Fekter said in a television interview.

But Monti said her remarks were “completely inappropriate” for an EU finance minister.

The Italian government’s borrowing costs rose to their highest level since January on worries that the state has too much debt and too little economic growth to pay for them. Fekter tried to tone down the claim by saying there were no signs of Italy planning to apply for aid, but Eurozone officials said the comments were unhelpful.