Italian premier defends austerity measures, warns against 'magic solutions'

ROME – Premier Mario Monti is defending his government’s austerity measures as necessary to restore confidence in Italy’s financial future and warned voters to beware “magic solutions” promised by candidates in upcoming elections.

Monti has said he will resign as soon as the country’s budget is approved, spreading anxiety in the markets that a new elected government will not follow through on reforms.

Former Premier Silvio Berlusconi was in full election mode. He says Monti’s politics are too “German-centred,” belittling concerns about the country’s borrowing costs as measured by the “spread” — the difference in interest between benchmark German bonds and Italian ones.

Monti stressed the importance of collective European action against the eurozone debt crisis in his appearance on state TV on Tuesday.