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Germany urges Italy to push forward tougher austerity policy

(Xinhua)

12:30, September 25, 2011

BERLIN, Sept. 24 (Xinhua) -- Italy should take greater efforts to push forward more austere financial policy and exercise more stringent frugality, in the wake of the credit downgrade, German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble said in a magazine interview published on Saturday.

The leaders in Italy and other countries have to realize how problematic it is not to commit to down-to-earth action with their announced measures and commitments, which could eventually lose the markets' trusts, Schaeuble told business weekly Wirtschafts Woche.

He urged Italy to take the downgrade of its sovereign debt by the Standard and Poor's as an opportunity to exercise more diligence and austerity to strike budget balance, in order to regain the market's confidence, which he described as the most important, also the rarest factor at the moment.

The credibility of Italy's financial policies has been arousing ever-deepening concerns, despite the fact that the government pushed through a 54.2-billion-euro austerity plan on September 14, aimed at balancing its budget in 2013 and cut its swollen public debt, which account for 120 percent of GDP.

However, Schaeuble said he believed the debt level of Italy is somehow "manageable", on the ground of "sound Italian economic data".

Schaeuble also expressed his appreciation of the efforts taken by Greece in settling down its mounting debts burden, adding that if the acute problem of widespread tax evasion in the country could be practically solved, its economic competitiveness could be restored within a decade.

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