OSLO Mario Monti has been a "great" prime minister of Italy and whoever takes over from him should pursue the same policies of budget consolidation, Herman Van Rompuy, the president of the European Council, said on Monday.
"I don't interfere in Italian politics, I can only say that Mario Monti did a great job as prime minister. He restored confidence in Italy and Italy is a key player in the euro zone, so he was extremely helpful in keeping stability in the euro zone," Van Rompuy told reporters.
"Mario Monti was a great prime minister of Italy and I hope that the policies that he put in place will continue after the elections. There is no alternative for sound public finances and a competitive economy. They are the only ways to fight recession and unemployment," he said. "There is no alternative for what Mr Monti is doing."
Van Rompuy was speaking ahead of the awarding of the Nobel Peace Prize to the European Union by the Norwegian Nobel committee in Oslo.
(Reporting by Luke Baker; Editing by Balazs Koranyi)