EU vows support to new Italian government

European Council chief Herman Van Rompuy on Sunday congratulated Italy's new Prime Minister Enrico Letta and vowed continued support from the bloc for Rome's efforts to stave off bankruptcy.

"I would like to warmly congratulate Prime Minister Enrico Letta on the formation of the new government," Van Rompuy said in a statement issued after Italy's much-awaited coalition cabinet was sworn in.

"I am sure that under his leadership there will be a strong impetus for political stability in Italy," he said, after a ceremony marred by a shooting that wounded two policemen guarding the government headquarters.

Italy has been battling its worst recession in 20 years and the bitter wrangling that delayed the formation of a government by more than two months had unnerved Rome's European partners.

The new line-up includes many younger ministers, more women and none of the heavyweights who have come to symbolise Italy's tired political class.

Letta "and his government will have full support from the European institutions for the continuation of the necessary reforms for growth and jobs, whilst respecting sound public finances, that Italy has embarked upon," Van Rompuy said.