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Published: Tuesday February 18, 2014 MYT 1:30:54 AM
Updated: Tuesday February 18, 2014 MYT 1:31:52 AM

EU confident Italy's new govt will continue reforms, austerity

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - The European Union's economic chief Olli Rehn said on Monday he was confident that Italy's new government would continue with fiscal consolidation, debt reduction and reforms to boost the country's competitiveness.

Italian centre-left leader Matteo Renzi said earlier on Monday he would begin talks to form a new government within 24 hours, and expected to lay out a program of reforms to be completed over the next few months.

He has promised a radical program of action to lift Italy out of its most serious economic slump since World War Two, but will have to deal with the same unwieldy coalition which failed to pass major reforms under its previous leader.

"I'm confident that democratic Italian institutions will facilitate a smooth formation of a new government and I'm confident that the new government will aim at tackling the problems of economic competitiveness of Italy, high level of public debt and I trust that the government will continue to pursue economic reforms and maintain a consistent line in fiscal consolidation," Rehn told a news conference.

(Reporting By Martin Santa, Robin Emmott and Jan Strupczewski)

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