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Brussels, 13 September 2011

Statement by President Barroso following his meeting with Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi

I just held a useful meeting with Prime Minister Berlusconi. This was an occasion to discuss the situation in the euro area in general and in Italy in particular. Our discussion focused especially on the budgetary measures approved by the Italian Senate last week and now being debated in the Chamber of Deputies, which are of fundamental importance for ensuring confidence in Italy and the euro area.

The Italian government's commitment to achieve a balanced budget by 2013 is an important signal of both determination and ambition. The latest measures, which the Prime Minister presented to me in detail, are designed to put Italy on track to achieve that goal. They also mark a welcome step towards removing some of the structural obstacles that are preventing Italy from achieving its full growth potential.

Rapid, effective and rigorous implementation is therefore absolutely essential.

I also welcomed the government's plan to enshrine in the Italian constitution the principle of a balanced budget and to streamline Italy's levels of government. I hope that it will be possible to achieve a broad political consensus in favour of these proposed changes, so that they too can be implemented as swiftly as Italy's constitutional requirements allow.

I agreed with Prime Minister Berlusconi on the need for a further deepening of integration in the euro area, based on the Community method. We need to strengthen our economic and monetary union both as a 'stability union' and as a 'growth union'.

The next steps on economic governance must provide the right methods and instruments for reinforced fiscal coordination and common discipline among the countries that share the euro, preserving at the same time the integrity of the single market and of the policies common to all 27 Member States.

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