FRANKFURT (MNI) – European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso
said Thursday he had expressed the importance of stability in Italy in a
telephone conversation with former Italian prime minister Silvio

Barroso, in a joint press conference with current Italian Prime
Minister Mario Monti in Brussels, said he held a “personal” conversation
with Berlusconi on Wednesday.

Barroso said he spoke of “the importance of having stability in
Italy, the importance of keeping Italy on this path of stability and
reform. This is critically important for Italy but also for the euro
area and for the European Union. These were the views that very frankly
I expressed to Silvio Berlusconi.”

Monti, who over the weekend announced plans to resign, would not
comment on a suggestion from Berlusconi that Monti be the prime
ministerial candidate for a coalition of moderates – led by Berlusconi –
heading into April’s elections.

“I am still involved actively in what the government needs to do,”
Monti said, offering no indications for the future but stressing that
any future Italian government must back further European integration.

“Whatever the outcome of the Italian election, the new Italian
government will still provide strong support on the part of Italy for EU
integration,” Monti told reporters.

–MNI Frankfurt Bureau; tel: +49 69-720-142; email:

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