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Eurogroup chief Dijsselbloem presses Italy on reforms

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

Eurogroup chief Jeroen Dijsselbloem on Tuesday pressed Italy to stick to budget cuts and reform commitments, but stressed there was "no rejoicing" after results of Italian polls seen as crucial for the eurozone.

"I assume the Italian government, no matter how it may be composed, will stick to its European commitments," said Dutch Finance Minister Dijsselbloem, who took over the key eurozone finance ministers' forum from Jean-Claude Junker in January.

"This is not just about budgetary rules but also about implementing reforms Italy genuinely needs to get its economy back on track," he told Dutch private broadcaster RTL Z.

Dijsselbloem said the current Italian political impasse after a weekend vote failed to produce a clear winner was troubling.

The elections ended in a stalemate in parliament between right and left after a crunch vote in which the real winner appeared to be a new protest party calling for a referendum on Italy's membership of the euro.

The campaign in Italy was marked by a reaction against the austerity measures pushed by German Chancellor Angela Merkel in a bid to beat the eurozone debt crisis that has propelled the 17-nation bloc into recession.

"A stable government is important to the eurozone. To pull Europe from an economic quagmire stable politics are required -- also in Italy," said Dijsselbloem.

"In this sense, however, there is no rejoicing in (Italian) election results," he said.

ndy/jhe/rl

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/130226/eurogroup-chief-dijsselbloem-presses-italy-reforms