ROME - German banks created Europe's debt crisis and the cuts demanded of Italy are driving the economy deeper into recession, the economic chief of former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi's party said on Friday.

Renato Brunetta, a leading voice on Italy's center-right, also said an exit from the euro could not be ruled out if Rome were forced to remain on its rigid diet of budget austerity - a line often taken by Berlusconi and his allies but one on which they have shown no sign of acting.

With an election due by April at the latest, the comments by Brunetta, minister for public administration in the last government, add to the uncertainty over what will follow Prime Minister Mario Monti when he departs.

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