Germany's foreign minister Tuesday urged Italy to continue its policy of reforms after an inconclusive election and stressed that a stable government must be formed as quickly as possible.
"The politicians in Rome know that Italy still needs a policy of reform, a policy of (budgetary) consolidation," said Guido Westerwelle, calling for a new government to be formed "as quickly as possible."
"This is not only in the interests of Italy, but the interests of Europe as a whole ... When it comes to beating the debt crisis, we are all in the same boat, whether we live in Germany, France, Italy or Spain," added the minister.
He stressed it was therefore important for politicians in Italy to take responsibility for the bloc as a whole, he added.
Italian 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.
"Italy plays a central role for a successful overcoming of the European debt crisis and therefore we count on the new government to continue the policy of consolidation and reforms in a consistent matter," concluded Westerwelle.