Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti said on Wednesday that Europe must recognize the way in which the Italian public had agreed to painful austerity measures to cut its debt.

Monti told reporters after meeting German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Berlin that Italians had broadly backed a very tough set of austerity measures.

This was a very mature attitude by Italians, and it merits not a reward ... but a recognition by Europe that it doesn't have to fear any more that Italy is a possible source of contagion for Europe, Monti told a news conference.

The Italian leader was repeating a frequent recent theme that Italy has made as many sacrifices as it can and Europe must now take action to help it combat the euro zone debt crisis.

(Reporting by Steve Scherer; Editing By Barry Moody)