'Italy needs action on reforms': Weidmann

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Jens Weidmann, the president of Bundesbank, said Italy needed more action on its reforms. Photo: Chatham House/Wikipedia
10:48 CEST+02:00
Tensions between Germany and Italy mounted on Thursday after Jens Weidmann, the president of Germany's central bank attacked Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi's calls for greater flexibility on EU budget rules.

Speaking to an audience of politicians from German chancellor Angela Merkel's CDU party, Bundesbank president Jens Weidmann accused Renzi of  merely "announcing" rather than doing anything about Italy's much-needed reforms, Corriere reported.

He also said that "increasing debt does not produce growth" in response to Renzi's call for a fresh impetus on stimulating growth across the EU and more flexibility on budget rules during a speech on Wednesday as Italy took up the rotating six-month EU presidency.

Renzi also compared the EU to a selfie, saying that if Europe took a photograph of itself it would be one of “exhaustion”.

Weidmann retorted: "Matteo Renzi tells us that Europe has a face of boredom, and is telling us what we must do..."

The Italian government was quick to defend itself, with Renzi saying the German's words "do not scare Italy", according to the report in Corriere.

Italian President Giorgio Napoletano also waded into the debate, saying "Italy has done a lot" in terms of its finances and that the country "is not afraid of criticism".

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Italy also came under fire for its mountainous debt on Wednesday after German MEP Manfred Weber questioned "where the money would come from" in response to Renzi's calls for more investment to ignite growth.

SEE HERE: Italy under fire over its huge debt

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