U.S. President Barack Obama says Italy has made a “strong start” toward cutting its deficit and restoring fiscal health under new Prime Minister Mario Monti.
Speaking after a meeting at the White House Thursday, Mr. Obama said the “very effective measures” Mr. Monti is promoting show the world Italy “has a plan” that takes seriously its fiscal responsibilities and the need or structural reforms.
Mr. Monti thanked the U.S. president for his support, and said Italians seem to understand that the reform process is necessary, even if painful in the short term.
The Italian prime minister took office in November and has quickly implemented tough austerity measures. He also has agreed to forgo his own salary.
Italy remains $2.5 trillion in debt.