German minister: any halt to Italy reforms dangerous for Europe

BERLIN Tue Dec 11, 2012 1:45pm EST

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BERLIN (Reuters) - Any halt to Italy's economic reforms would be dangerous for Europe, Germany's foreign minister said on Tuesday.

European stock and bond markets have been knocked by concerns that ex-prime minister Silvio Berlusconi could return to power in Italy after elections next year and weaken efforts to reform state finances.

"(Stopping the reforms) would be a dangerous development for Europe," Guido Westerwelle told reporters.

Berlusconi, leader of the center-right People of Freedom (PDL) party, criticised outgoing Prime Minister Mario Monti's technocrat government earlier on Tuesday, accusing it of accepting severe economic austerity policies dictated by Germany which had dragged Italy into recession.

(Reporting by Hans-Edzard Busemann, writing by Gareth Jones; editing by Patrick Graham)

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