Blair praises Italy over G8 backing

Last updated at 15:20 27 May 2005

Prime Minister Tony Blair has hailed Italian support for his plans to tackle climate change and African poverty.

Speaking after talks with his Italian counterpart Silvio Berlusconi in Rome, Mr Blair said the two countries were in agreement on the way forward for the G8.

The Prime Minister has promised to make poverty in Africa and climate change the key priorities of his presidency of the G8 group or rich nations.

Mr Blair said today's talks had been "friendly and constructive" with agreement on all the key issues.

"On the G8 agenda we are in agreement on the way forward, both in respect of Africa and climate change," he said.

Mr Blair also paid tribute to Italy's "courage and commitment" in Iraq.

And he called for economic reform of the EU.

"I think economic reform in Europe is essential," he said.

"The big issue that faces our citizens now in Europe is how do we increase our prosperity in an era of globalisation, in an era of intense competition - not just within Europe, but outside of Europe?"

He said Europe had to modernise its economy in order to meet the challenge.

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