Friday

20th Jan 2017

Monti to resign after Berlusconi seeks comeback

  • Troubles ahead: Italy's borrowing costs are already rising (Photo: Giampaolo Macorig)

Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti on Saturday (8 December) said he will step down after media magnate Silvio Berlusconi left him without a majority in parliament and announced he will stand again for elections.

After talks with Monti, the country's president, Giorgio Napolitano, issued a statement saying Monti "does not consider it possible to carry on his mandate and consequently made clear his intention to present his resignation."

Dear EUobserver reader

Subscribe now for unrestricted access to EUobserver.

Sign up for 30 days' free trial, no obligation. Full subscription only 15 € / month or 150 € / year.

  1. Unlimited access on desktop and mobile
  2. All premium articles, analysis, commentary and investigations
  3. EUobserver archives

EUobserver is the only independent news media covering EU affairs in Brussels and all 28 member states.

♡ We value your support.

If you already have an account click here to login.

The technocrat took over the reigns of power after the scandal-prone Berlusconi stepped down last year amid market pressure and a sense of desperation from his EU peers.

Berlusconi's People of Freedom party had so far supported Monti's government, but on Thursday, his senators boycotted a vote on economic reforms.

Berlusconi on Saturday made clear he will run again in the upcoming elections, as he felt a "responsibility" towards his country to do so.

Markets promptly sent up Italy's borrowing costs.

The head of eurozone's bailout fund, Klaus Regling, told Sueddeutsche Zeitung "markets have reacted with concern to the developments of last week" and insisted for Monti's successor not to undo what the technocrat has managed to push through in terms of reforms.

EU commission chief Jose Manuel Barroso also warned that the relative calm on financial markets does not mean Italy has overcome the crisis. "The upcoming elections should not serve as a pretext to question the necessity of reforms," Barroso said.

But the New York Times raises the possibility for Monti to run as a candidate in the early elections, most likely to be held in February.

The well-respected economist and former EU commissioner has improved Italy's standing in the European Union and the world. German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Francois Hollande regularly consulted with him on the euro crisis, after Italy had been left out in the cold in its Berlusconi years.

Monti's legitimacy was shaky however, as he had not been elected, but appointed Prime Minister from his post as life-long senator.

In past months, Monti has said he could return as Prime Minister, depending on the outcome of the elections.

As for the 76-year old Berlusconi, he was convicted of tax fraud in October and is on trial for sex with an underage prostitute. He denies any wrongdoing and wants to appeal the verdict.

Brexit men launch anti-EU website

Westmonster, modelled on hard-right US websites, said it was: "Pro-Brexit, pro-Farage, pro-Trump. Anti-establishment".

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Caritas EuropaEU States to Join Pope Francis’s Appeal to Care for Migrant Children
  2. UNICEFNumber of Unaccompanied Children Arriving by sea to Italy Doubles in 2016
  3. Nordic Council of Ministers"Nordic Matters" Help Forge Closer Bonds Between the UK and the Nordic Region
  4. Computers, Privacy & Data ProtectionThe age of Intelligent Machines: join the Conference on 25-27 January 2017
  5. Martens CentreNo Better way to Lift Your Monday Blues Than to Gloss Over our Political Cartoons
  6. Dialogue PlatformThe Gulen Movement: An Islamic Response to Terror as a Global Challenge
  7. European Free AllianceMinority Rights and Autonomy are a European Normality
  8. Swedish EnterprisesHow to Create EU Competitiveness Post-Brexit? Seminar on January 24th
  9. European Jewish CongressSchulz to be Awarded the European Medal for Tolerance for his Stand Against Populism
  10. Nordic Council of Ministers"Adventures in Moominland" Kick Off Nordic Matters Festival in London
  11. PLATO15 Fully-Funded PhDs Across Europe on the Post-Crisis Legitimacy of the EU - Apply Now!
  12. Dialogue PlatformInterview: Fethullah Gulen Condemns Assassination of Russian Ambassador to Turkey