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Italian PM scolds Greece but warns against euro breakup

mario-montiSTRASBOURG: Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti scolded Greece on Wednesday for years of bad policies but he warned against any breakup of the eurozone and bemoaned the divisions created by the crisis.

"The tough treatment of Greece today is probably exaggerated," Monti told the European Parliament in Strasbourg, France.

"But let's not forget that the policies conducted in Greece over several years were a perfect catalogue of the worst practices in Europe," he said.

Monti spoke as Greece struggled to secure a new bailout from eurozone partners, who delayed a decision on a 230-billion-euro ($300 billion) rescue package as they sought firm reform pledges from Athens.

But the Italian premier, who has led a caretaker cabinet since Silvio Berlusconi quit when the debt crisis infected Italy last year, appealed for European unity at a time of tensions between northern and southern Europe.

"We cannot allow the euro to become a factor of disintegration and separation between European citizens. This risk exists," Monti said.

"I think and I hope we will be able to find a solution to the eurozone crisis. I think it is within reach," he said.

Monti called for European unity to face the two-year-old debt drama.

"It is important for the European Union to be inclusive rather than exclusive," he said.

"The eurozone crisis has given rise to too much resentment, has created too many stereotypes, has split Europeans down the middle, has split us up between central European states and periphery states."

Copyright AFP (Agence France-Presse), 2012


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