Italy no longer a contagion risk for euro - Monti

German Chancellor Angela Merkel welcomes Italian PM Mario Monti to Berlin (11 Jan 2012) Mr Monti said Italians had accepted austerity without lengthy political procedures

Italian PM Mario Monti has said his country has made painful reforms and should no longer be seen as a "possible source of contagion for Europe".

He was speaking after talks in Berlin with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who said she had "great respect" for Italy's reforms.

Earlier, Mr Monti warned of protests against the EU and Germany if Italy's reforms went unrecognised.

He said there had been no EU concessions such as interest rate cuts.

Without "tangible successes", he predicted protests against Brussels, Germany and the European Central Bank.

Mr Monti, at the head of a government of unelected technocrats since November, followed two other important visitors to Berlin, French President Nicolas Sarkozy on Monday and IMF head Christine Lagarde on Tuesday.

Ms Lagarde has now travelled to Paris to meet Mr Sarkozy.

The French and German leaders are both due to go to Rome on 20 January.

'Mature attitude'

"This was a very mature attitude by Italians, and it merits not a reward... but a recognition by Europe that it doesn't have to fear any more that Italy is a possible source of contagion for Europe," Mr Monti told reporters.

Mrs Merkel said for her part: "As for the speed and substance of these measures, I think they will strengthen Italy, will improve its economic prospects and we have watched with great respect how quickly they have been implemented."

In an earlier interview for Germany's Die Welt newspaper, he stressed that Italians had accepted reforms without the lengthy political procedures that Rome was known for.

"If Italians do not see tangible successes in the foreseeable future for their willingness to save and reform, there will be - and it's already looming - a protest in Italy against Europe and also against Germany, which is seen as ringleader of EU intolerance, and against the European Central Bank," he said.

The BBC's Alan Johnston in Rome says that, despite the risk of economic collapse in Italy, Mr Monti believes he has managed to drag his country back from the brink with a programme of spending cuts and tax rises.

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