Mario Monti is in talks with centrist groups urging him to stand in Italy’s elections early next year it emerged on Monday as pressure mounted on the technocrat prime minister from the financial markets, fellow European leaders and the Church to stay in politics to safeguard his reforms, CNN reported. Italy’s government borrowing costs rose and its stock market fell sharply after his surprise decision over the weekend to stand down earlier than expected rekindled uncertainty over one of the eurozone’s more vulnerable economies. Mr Monti, whose economic reforms have steered Italy out of the centre of the eurozone’s sovereign debt crisis in the past year, said he would step down when the budget is passed, possibly as early as this month, triggering an election in February. Amid revived concern in Brussels and among investors that Italy could forsake its recent reforms, centrist politicians were in talks with him encouraging him to stand as a candidate. He was said to be in discussions with Luca Cordero di Montezemolo, the head of Ferrari who launched a political movement last month, and Pier Ferdinando Casini, leader of the centrist Catholic UDC party. Mr Berlusconi on Monday night slammed European politicians and some foreign newspapers for their “offensive” reaction to his comeback and the freedom of Italians to choose in elections. Such responses were the “umpteenth speculative move” to weaken Italian companies and make them “easy prey” for foreign buyers, he said in a statement.