June 4, 2018 / 10:34 AM / 6 months ago

Germany's Merkel, ECB's Draghi exchange views

German Chancellor Angela Merkel speaks next to European Central Bank (ECB) President Mario Draghi during the Charlemagne Prize ceremony in Aachen, Germany May 10, 2018. REUTERS/Wolfgang Rattay

BERLIN (Reuters) - German Chancellor Angela Merkel exchanged views with European Central Bank President Mario Draghi on Monday, her spokesman said, as part of her regular informal meetings with leaders of European institutions.

Merkel’s spokesman, Steffen Seibert, declined to say whether Merkel and Draghi, an Italian, discussed the political situation in Italy or euro zone reform proposals during their meeting in Berlin.

“These are not public meetings, rather it was an exchange of views as she has with Mr Draghi or other chiefs of European institutions every now and then, in confidence,” Seibert told a news conference.

There was no immediate comment on the meeting from the ECB.

Italy’s government was sworn in on Friday, ending months of political turmoil, but investors remain nervous as it promises to increase spending, slash taxes and challenge European Union fiscal rules.

In a weekend newspaper interview, Merkel ruled out debt relief for Italy, saying that the principle of solidarity among euro zone states should not turn the single currency bloc into a debt-sharing union.

“I will approach the new Italian government openly and work with it instead of speculating about its intentions,” Merkel told the Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung.

Last week, sources close to the matter told Reuters that the ECB was keeping a watchful eye on the political crisis in Italy but saw no reason to intervene.

Reporting by Sabine Siebold in Berlin and Balazs Koranyi in Frankfurt; Writing by Paul Carrel; Editing by Michelle Martin and John Stonestreet

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