Sunday

20th Jan 2019

Monti resigns as promised, quips about doomsday

  • Mario Monti is resigning but may return as Prime Minister (Photo: European Council)

Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti resigned as promised on Friday (21 December) after the Italian parliament adopted the 2013 budget.

"A year ago this government was beginning. Today, on the other hand, we have to end this role and the Mayan prophecy is not to blame," he joked earlier in the day, referring to a widely popularised prediction that the world would end on 21 December 2012.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 18 year's of archives. 30 days free trial.

... or join as a group

Once the parliament passed the budget, he filed his resignation to Italian President Giorgio Napolitano, paving the way for early elections in February.

He had announced he would do so earlier this month after his predecessor, Silvio Berlusconi, withdrew his party's support for the government and said he would stand for elections again, prompting market fears that Italy might need a bailout.

Centre-right EU leaders - including German Chancellor Angela Merkel - in the European People's Party, last week gave a strong show of support for Monti.

They said at a congress in Brussels that he "restor[ed] confidence in Italy" and they made it clear to Berlusconi he is not welcome in their fold.

Berlusconi resigned last year amid market pressure and exasperation from EU colleagues over broken promises on reforms. The media mogul's departure was also associated with accusations of fraud and with sexual scandals.

Monti - a highly respected technocrat - took over pushed through labour market changes and budget cuts which reduced down Italy's borrowing costs.

Berlusconi at the EPP congress said he might not run after all, but only if Monti ran on behalf of his ailing party.

Monti - who was never linked to any party - replied only that he might come back as PM if there is no other solution.

Berlusconi then made another u-turn, agreeing with centre-left critics who say it would be "morally questionable" if Monti ran in the vote.

According to the latest polls, the centre-left Democratic Party is poised to win by 35 percent, while a centrist coalition led by Monti would only take around 15 percent. Berlusconi's People of Freedom party is tipped to score 17 percent.

EU leaders back Monti against Berlusconi

Germany's Merkel and other centre-right leaders have indicated they would like to see Mario Monti to keep on running Italy instead of Silvio Berlusconi.

Italy to run balanced budget, minister says

The Italian economy will run a balanced budget in 2013 before returning to growth the following year, the country's outgoing finance minister has said.

German spies to monitor far-right AfD party

Germany's domestic spy agency, the BfV, is to start monitoring the far-right AfD party in a move endorsed by the government, but decried as a witch-hunt by the party's leaders.

EU warns Romania over corruption amnesty

Juncker warned Romania's government not to move ahead with plans to grant amnesty for corruption, as more than 200 EU laws await decisions during Bucharest's presidency.

News in Brief

  1. EU trade commissioner asks for green light for US talks
  2. Slovakia's commissioner takes unpaid leave to run for presidency
  3. Minority elects Lofven as prime minister of Sweden
  4. Putin opposes EU prospects of Serbia and Kosovo
  5. Tsipras launches campaign to ratify Macedonia deal
  6. US-EU meeting in doubt after Trump cancels plane
  7. Germany and China to sign pact on finance cooperation
  8. Labour divided on second Brexit vote plan

Opinion

EU parliament vote strengthens whistleblower protection

We must not undervalue what a massive step the European Parliament vote represents. The hard work has paid off. We can take a moment to celebrate, but the hard work begins again for finalising strong protection for European whistleblowers.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. International Partnership For Human RightsKyrgyz authorities have to immediately release human rights defender Azimjon Askarov
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersSeminar on disability and user involvement
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersInternational appetite for Nordic food policies
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersNew Nordic Innovation House in Hong Kong
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Region has chance to become world leader when it comes to start-ups
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersTheresa May: “We will not be turning our backs on the Nordic region”
  7. International Partnership for Human RightsOpen letter to Emmanuel Macron ahead of Uzbek president's visit
  8. International Partnership for Human RightsRaising key human rights concerns during visit of Turkmenistan's foreign minister
  9. Nordic Council of MinistersState of the Nordic Region presented in Brussels
  10. Nordic Council of MinistersThe vital bioeconomy. New issue of “Sustainable Growth the Nordic Way” out now
  11. Nordic Council of MinistersThe Nordic gender effect goes international
  12. Nordic Council of MinistersPaula Lehtomaki from Finland elected as the Council's first female Secretary General

Latest News

  1. Aachen treaty and Brexit endgame This WEEK
  2. Germany led way on EU rights protection
  3. How to troll the European Parliament elections
  4. MEPs in Strasbourg: everywhere but the plenary
  5. Brexit delay 'reasonable', as May tries cross-party talks
  6. MEPs allow Draghi's membership of secretive bank group
  7. EU parliament backs Morocco deal despite row
  8. Barnier open to 'future relations' talks if UK red lines shift

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us