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Italian finance minister says key goals are structural reforms, not easing debt rules

Belgium EU Finance Ministers-1.jpg

Italian Finance Minister Pier Carlo Padoan, right, greets Vice President of the European Commission Siim Kallas during a EU finance ministers meeting at the European Council building in Brussels, Tuesday, July 8, 2014. (AP Photo/Geert Vanden Wijngaert) (The Associated Press)

Italy's finance minister says his country and the European Union must focus on pushing through structural reforms to boost growth, not rely on easing rules limiting government debt.

Pier Carlo Padoan, whose country holds the rotating EU-presidency, said Tuesday in Brussels his goal is "to help all countries to find incentives and pressure to reform."

The comments came after weeks of discussions during which Italy urged an easing of the 28-nation bloc's rules limiting the member nations' budget deficits and overall debt level.

Dutch Finance Minister Jeroen Dijsselbloem, who also chairs the meetings of the 18-nation eurozone, insisted the good conditions in bond markets allowing governments to take on debt more cheaply should not distract from the necessity of "getting some work done in terms of reforms."