Letta tells EU it must deliver rewards, not just rigor

(ANSA) - Rome, October 22 - Premier Enrico Letta told the European Union on Tuesday that it had to deliver rewards and the hope that the economic crisis is ending, as well as dictates on financial rigour, ahead of this week's EU summit in Brussels.

Letta has been lobbying for the EU to put greater emphasis on stoking growth and fighting unemployment since he was sworn in at the helm of a left-right grand-coalition government in April.

Under the emergency technocrat administration of Letta's predecessor, Mario Monti, Rome adopted EU-mandated austerity policies that helped move Italy out of the centre of the eurozone debt crisis, but deepened the country's longest recession in over two decades.

"Discipline in public finances is needed, but it's only socially acceptable if there is a reward, a turning point, an exit (from the crisis), a prospect for the future," Letta told the Lower House.

"The right way to emerge from the crisis is to combine greater responsibility with greater solidarity".

He added that he would seek "political clarification" on delays in the process to set up a banking union for the eurozone.

"The mechanisms must be adopted by April, they must not be put back," he said.

He added that Italy's efforts to put its financial house in order would put it in a strong position when it takes the duty presidency of the European Union in the second half of 2014.

"We have to be ready, strengthened by the sacrifices made in recent years and proud of our European credentials," Letta said.

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