Saturday

27th Aug 2016

Monti attacks 'short-termism' in EU politics

  • 'Leadership is opposite of short-termism,' says Mario Monti (Photo: World Economic Forum)

Italy's outgoing Prime Minister Mario Monti on Wednesday (23 January) criticised fellow EU leaders for the way they dealt with the euro crisis and said corporations are blocking reforms in order to promote "vested interests" in Europe.

"Leadership is the opposite of short-termism. And there was short-termism in the initial response to the euro-crisis," Monti said in a speech at the World Economic Forum, a yearly gathering of political leaders in the Swiss resort of Davos.

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 and former EU commissioner took over the reigns of power in 2011, when his predecessor and convicted fraudster Silvio Berlusconi stepped down amid market pressure which drove Italy close to a bailout.

Monti praised the Italian people for trusting him and for enduring the sacrifices that were needed to bring Italy back on track.

Without naming Berlusconi, he blamed the previous generations of Italian leaders who failed to transform the country, accumulated debt and allowed corruption and vested interests to flourish.

He spoke frankly about "northern leaders" - a hint to German Chancellor Angela Merkel and her Dutch and Scandinavian allies - who "failed to recognise the systemic component of the crisis," meaning that markets mistrusted Italy even when it started to clean up its act, because there was no confidence in the euro as such.

As seen in Italy, Monti said painful reforms everywhere in Europe can be accepted by the public if they see justice and fairness, instead of the rich and privileged being let off the hook.

"I saw corporate interests having rather more taxes than opening markets. Sometimes their resistance is camouflaged behind traditional ideas. Vested corporate interests are found throughout the EU, not just Italy," Monti said.

As for his own political choices, Monti - who so far had never been a political party member - said he took the decision to lead a coalition of centrist parties in the general elections on 24-25 February despite it being "against my nature and my personal interest."

"The essence of my endeavour is to build a highly competitive social market economy in Italy and in Europe. It is an ambitious agenda but we owe it to our people, to the most fragile who pay the price of unemployment. They are victims of governments not strong enough in confronting corruption, vested interests, tax evasion, market manipulation," he said.

Cameron is right

The former internal market commissioner, who authored a plan on how to improve the EU single market a few years ago, said he agrees with British Prime Minister David Cameron on one issue: that the single market is not working properly.

Cameron earlier on Wednesday said he wants Britain to renegotiate the terms of its EU membership, focusing on the single market, and then to submit the new deal to a referendum in 2017.

Monti said he also sees the "advantage" of putting the "real question" to the British people: whether they want to be in or out of the EU, rather than playing around with "marginal" questions.

"I don't know what the British people will say, but I am confident that all the costs and benefits of this decisions will come up and facilitate a positive decision for all Europeans," he said.

News in Brief

  1. Hungary plans to reinforce border fence against migrants
  2. France's highest court suspends burkini ban
  3. Greeks paid €1bn more in taxes in June
  4. Greek minister denounces EU letter on former statistics chief
  5. Turks seeking asylum in Greece may cause diplomatic row
  6. Merkel becomes digital resident of Estonia
  7. Report: VW will compensate US dealers with €1bln
  8. EU mulls making Google pay news media for content

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. GoogleBrussels - home of beer, fries, chocolate and Google’s Public Policy Team - follow @GoogleBrussels
  2. HuaweiSeeds for the Future Programme to Bring Students from 50 countries to China for Much-Needed ICT Training
  3. EFASpain is not a democratic state. EFA expresses its solidarity to Arnaldo Otegi and EH Bildu
  4. UNICEFBoko Haram Violence in Lake Chad Region Leaves Children Displaced and Trapped
  5. HuaweiMaking Cities Smarter and Safer
  6. GoogleHow Google Makes Connections More Secure For Users
  7. EGBAThe EU Court of Justice Confirms the Application of Proportionality in Assessing Gambling Laws
  8. World VisionThe EU and Member States Must Not Use Overseas Aid for Promoting EU Interests
  9. Dialogue PlatformInterview: "There is a witch hunt against the Gulen Movement in Turkey"
  10. ACCAACCA Calls for ‘Future Looking’ Integrated Reporting Culture With IIRC and IAAER
  11. EURidNominate Your Favourite .eu or .ею Website for the .EU Web Awards 2016 Today!
  12. Dialogue PlatformAn Interview on Gulen Movement & Recent Coup Attempt in Turkey