Monti unveils 'change Italy' agenda
Rome - Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti unveiled an agenda to "change Italy, reform Europe" at a year-end presser on Sunday and said the country had managed to pull itself out of the eurozone debt crisis, without having to call for aid.
"The agenda focuses on avoiding very dangerous steps backwards", and will take the reforms already begun forward, said Monti, who stepped down on Friday after a year in which he dragged the eurozone's third largest economy out of a fiscal mire.
"The financial crisis has been overcome. . . I was always sure that Italy had all the resources needed to make it on its own, and so it was," said the former eurocrat, who many European leaders hope will play a role in any future government to keep the reform accomplished on track.
Monti, who took over the reins of power after Silvio Berlusconi was ousted amid a sex scandal and the financial crisis, also commented that he was 'perplexed' by the ex-premier.
"I am perplexed by my predecessor. I find it difficult to follow his line of thought," he said, referring to media magnate Berlusconi's frequent changes in position over the past few weeks, first supporting Monti then attacking him.
Berlusconi has said he will run in February's general election and now seems to have settled on winning votes on the back of an anti-Monti drive.