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Italian PM seeks Finnish respect

Prime Minister Mario Monti hopes to convince Finnish officials that Italy is serious about economic reform.

Kesäranta, pääministerin virka-asunto Meilahdessa
Image: Kalle Kultala

Italian premier Mario Monti begins a two-day visit to Helsinki on Wednesday. He will hold talks with Prime Minister Jyrki Katainen at the latter's official residence, Kesäranta. Monti is also to meet with President Sauli Niinistö and Speaker of Parliament Eero Heinäluoma, as well as other officials.

On Tuesday, ahead of a working lunch with French President François Hollande, the Italian premier said he would try to convince the Finns to recognise Italy's progress in economic reforms. Finland has been considered sceptical about the commitment to austerity in southern Europe's debt-loaded nations.

"It is very important that all of us in Europe, regardless of latitudes, see to it that the euro, which is the pinnacle of the cathedral of the construction of Europe, does not become a cause of disintegration," he said.

"We all have to make an effort to overcome reciprocal prejudices, to look each other straight in the eye and look at the statistics," Monti added. "Finland has made extraordinary progress in its economy in recent years and I hope the Finns recognise what Italy has done in these years and these months."

Monti took office last November following the resignation of long-time premier Silvio Berlusconi.

Sources: Yle, Reuters, AFP

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