By JARI TANNER, Associated Press
HELSINKI (AP) — Italian Premier Mario Monti slammed bond market investors Wednesday for failing to appreciate the reforms being undertaken by a number of euro countries.
Without elaborating, Monti told a news conference in Helsinki during his two-day visit to Finland that European leaders should adopt measures to make them function better.
Monti also dismissed suggestions that Italy would need a bailout since, in his words, the country's finances are in a "comfortable situation."
"Italy may need help perhaps in relation to the slow phase with which markets recognize the efforts undertaken and achieved by Italy or other countries," he said.
The yield on Italy's 10-year bonds rose well above 6 percent last week, but has retreated in recent days on expectations the European Central Bank will resume its bond-buying program following its monthly policy meeting on Thursday.
Monti described last week's statement from European Central Bank head Mario Draghi that the bank would do whatever it takes to save the euro, as "bold and appropriate."
Monti arrived in Finland from France, and is scheduled to meet Spanish counterpart Mariano Rajoy on Thursday as part of a quick tour around the continent to drum up support for strengthening the euro.
Winning support from Finland, one of the few remaining euro area members with a prime investment rating, is crucial for Monti, given the Nordic country's tough stance on countries that live beyond their means.
Finnish PM Jyrki Katainen, speaking alongside Monti, pledged his country's continuing support for the euro, quoting a recent opinion poll where a clear majority of Finns said they would like to keep the common currency.
However, in the same breath Katainen said it was "unfair" that some members were not sticking to common rules.
"We joined (the euro area) because we thought the rules are fair and that rules are the same for everybody. But now we have seen this hasn't been the case," Katainen said. "There are lots of unemployed people in Finland who have lost their job due to the southern (European) debt crisis."
However, Katainen said Finland would not seek collateral from Italy or another troubled euro area countries if bailout funds were dispersed from Europe's bailout fund, the European Stability Mechanism. Finland has sought collateral from Spain and Greece in exchange for support for the country's approval of bailout funds.
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