European Union and the European Central Bank inspectors were in Rome Wednesday to begin monitoring Italy's compliance with promised economic reforms.
The team arrived in Rome as Italian bond yields rose above 7 percent despite a pledge by Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi to push through an austere economic package by the end of the month and then resign, ANSA reported.
Bond yields of 7 percent pushed Greece, Ireland and Portugal to seek European Union bailouts.
The inspectors, led by European Commission Deputy Director General for Economic and Monetary Affairs Servas Deroose and Central Bank Deputy Director General for Economic Development Hans-Joachim Kloeckers, visited first with Civil Service Minister Renato Brunetta then moved to the Bank of Italy and the Treasury.
Submitting his answers to a questionnaire the team sent in advance, Brunetta assured the group he was beginning to "cut red tape and modernize the civil service" as promised in the package Berlusconi outlined to the European Union two weeks ago, ANSA said.
Economy Minister Giulio Tremonti was expected to describe to the team other moves to tame Italy's budget, including state asset sales, pension reforms and opening up professional guilds.
Berlusconi said Wednesday his name won't be on the ballot next year when Italy conducts elections, likely in early February, ANSA reported.
"After my resignation a new phase of consultations will open up," Berlusconi said during a television talk show Wednesday. "Although this will naturally involve the president, it will not lead to the formation of any new government that is not ours and we will return to the ballot box."
After he failed to carry a majority in the lower house of Parliament Tuesday, Berlusconi told President Giorgio Napolitano he would resign once economic reforms are approved.
The prime minister and the president talked after a key budget measure was approved by 308 lawmakers, with 321 absentees and one formal abstention, ANSA said.
The media mogul suggested former Justice Minister Angelino Alfano, currently secretary of the People of Freedom Party, should be the party's candidate.
Once Parliament passes the latest round of economic reforms, Berlusconi said he would "do whatever my party asks me to do in the interests of the country."
In Milan, stocks fell 3.47 percent in midday trading. The European Central Bank intervened in the market Wednesday, buying Italian bonds.