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Italian premier Berlusconi rebuffs calls for resignation as market turmoil engulfs country
ROME (AP) ' Italian Premier Silvio Berlusconi said Wednesday that economic growth is his government's key policy aim and vowed to complete his five-year mandate to ensure stability.
After a volatile day on markets, in which Italian borrowing rates touched a record high, Berlusconi told parliament on the last day before summer recess that Italy "has not done little" in response to the crisis. "But we know there is more to do."
He says Italy needs to promote competitiveness and growth.
Berlusconi said the euro70 billion ($99 billion) in austerity measures passed last month will balance the budget by 2014, and emphasized that infrastructure projects mostly in the poorer south approved earlier Wednesday will help promote growth.
Growing market jitters had intensitifed opposition calls for Berlusconi's resignation, with center-left leaders interpreting the market nervousness with lack of confidence in the Italian leader. But Berlusconi was firm.
"Everyone does his own part: stability has always been the winning strategy against speculation," Berlusconi said.