'There is no Plan B for Greece': Padoan

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Italy's Economy Minister Pier Carlo Padoan. Photo: Eric Piement/AFP
13:20 CEST+02:00
Italy’s Economy Minister Pier Carlo Padoan said on Monday there is no "Plan B" being hatched in the event of Greece leaving the euro.

Speaking to journalists in Rome, Padoan said: “There are no discussions on a Plan B and there is no need for one.

"We need to find a rapid agreement between the Eurogroup and the Greek authorities."

He also said the Greek situation has little impact on Italy, as conditions had changed since the height of the eurozone crisis in 2012, when Greece's debt problems sparked most fear over the future of the euro.

Italy's government is also pushing ahead with fiscal and structural reforms in order to create a robust and sustainable economy, he added.

The economy is facing a “window of opportunity”, he said, especially with an improvement in the macro-economic environment.

A reform clause in European Commission budget rules has given Italy, and other EU states in the midst of structural reforms, more room for new spending.

Earlier this month, the government said it had found €1.6 billion extra to spend this year by letting the national deficit rise slightly to 2.6 percent of GDP from 2.5 percent. The money will likely be spent on social initiatives.

Padoan said that the economy is showing signs of growth, albeit timidly, and that the focus now is on building the foundations for long-term growth.

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Another priority will be attracting investment and helping businesses, especially when it comes to simplifying administration and improving access to finance for companies.

“We need to put companies that were affected by the crisis back on their feet,” he said.

He also anticipates that the Expo trade fair, which gets underway in Milan on May 1st, will boost both Italy's growth as well as investor confidence.

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