Italian Premier Mario Monti says 15 months in government is all that he wants - but the economy will need more time to find its footing.
"Fifteen months? For me, personally, I have had enough, but it's less than what is needed to restructure the economy," Monti said Thursday, answering reporters' questions during a visit to Israel.
He also applauded the resilience of the Italian people, who have endured deep cuts to government spending programs and tax increases as Monti's caretaker government of technocrats has tried to encourage an economic recovery. And he couldn't resist a dig at former premier Silvio Berlusconi, who has been blamed for wreaking economic havoc on the country, including denying its serious problems for as long as possible.
"Italians are bearing remarkable sacrifices after a period in which they were told that the crisis was not so bad," said Monti, who earlier met with the Governor of the Bank of Israel, Stanley Fischer.
Italians are now accepting change "with an understanding and an incredible maturity: there is no level of protest as in other parts of Europe, and this shows remarkable acceptance of government policy".
Italy has seen a steady string of protests against the Monti government's measures, but these have not come near the level of violence witnessed in Spain and Greece, where economic measures have been more harsh.