Bari - Italian Premier Mario Monti on Friday made a renewed pledge to revive the Italian economy following a tough austerity programme that is fixing public finances.
He said he would stoke growth in a number of ways but stressed that raising public spending was not one of them.
According to the premier, growth doesn't come out of a tube thanks to spending.
Monti said he wanted to be "clear" about the "deleterious" effects of "a certain kind of state assistance", especially in the underdeveloped south of Italy.
He reiterated that reviving growth was the "central goal" of his government.
Looking back to emergency austerity measures passed since he took over the premiership from Silvio Berlusconi in November, Monti said Italy had avoided slipping into the euro-crisis "precipice" thanks to the "sacrifices" of its citizens.
"Italy avoided the precipice and it is a vital force, credited (although) I don't know (to what extent) credible, of Europe, to which it contributed in this turnaround".
Government belt-tightening and structural reforms were achieved "also thanks to the sacrifices of Italian citizens" who have had to bear pension and spending cuts, among other moves towards stricter fiscal discipline, Monti said. The government's austerity policies to bring Italy back from the brink of euro disaster may have appeared "excessive" but they were "necessary" to regain credibility, he stressed.
Infrastructure programmes are needed to stoke growth in Italy's poorer south, Monti went on.
"In the South, these are needed, from transport to broadband to waste recycling, otherwise it's difficult to think of development".
Italy's youth are "underused and demoralised', Monti said.
He also pledged to build more meritocracy for the "intellectual capital" of Italian young people, a third of whom are unemployed and many of whom go abroad for jobs.
Moving on to the fight against tax dodgers, another central goal of his administration, Monti said the government was locked in a "war of civilisation".
"We have launched a war of civilisation against tax evasion and other things that it would be reductive to consider solely as economic or financial, but which undermine trust in those near and far and in the State," Monti said.
The prime minister said that he appreciated criticism of the government, adding that he would share some of the negative judgements "if I did not have in mind the drama of the challenge facing us". Monti was speaking at the Fiera del Levante trade fair in this Puglia port city.