Italian PM calls for 'strong German government' before visit

Italian Premier Paolo Gentiloni says Europe needs "a strong German government" as he heads to Berlin for talks Friday with Chancellor Angela Merkel.

Gentiloni told Munich-based daily Sueddeutsche Zeitung that Europe's economic upswing mustn't be endangered by hesitancy among center-left politicians when it comes to taking on government responsibility.

The Social Democrats, Germany's counterpart to Gentiloni's Democratic Party, have been wracked by a leadership dispute and internal opposition to a planned coalition with Merkel.

Gentiloni's comments also come ahead of Italy's parliamentary elections next month, in which the center-left is expected to lose votes to the right and the upstart 5-Star Movement.