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Debt Crisis: Italy’s Monti warns Italy could fall into hands of anti-EU populists


Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti. Photo: Getty Images

Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti. Photo: Getty Images

Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti. Photo: Getty Images

ITALY could fall into the hands of anti-EU populists unless Europe recognises the attempts the eurozone’s third biggest economy is making in its bid to stem the crisis, Prime Minister Mario Monti has warned.

In an interview in German Daily Die Welt, he said Italians are being asked to make big sacrifices with strict austerity measures being introduced.

"The problem is, however, that despite these sacrifices we do not see concessions from the EU, such as in the form of lowered interest rates," Mr Monti was quoted as saying in today's edition.

"I cannot be successful with my policies if the policies of the EU do not change.”

The newly appointed Prime Minister, who heads up a new technocratic Government, said if that didn’t happen, the country, which has always been pro-European, could fall into the hands of populists.

Italy’s borrowing costs are now at unsustainable levels, above 7pc.

Mr Monti also meets German Chancellor Angela Merkel today to discuss the debt crisis.

He has already cosied-up to France’s Nicolas Sarkozy ahead of summit of EU leaders on January 30.

But he also warned that the two countries can’t go it alone, despite their size.

Mr Monti said Franco-German cooperation was crucial for the EU to develop, but the two countries could not go it alone. "It's not enough, especially in an EU of 27," Mr Monti said.

Mr Monti called the breaches of the Maastricht Treaty limits on deficit ceilings by France and Germany, soon after the launch of the single currency, the "worst mistake in the EU in the past 10 years".

Mr Monti also said joint euro bonds would not be at the heart of his talks with Dr Merkel today and that the crisis did not originate in the European Union but came from the United States.

Meanwhile, Ms Merkel said Germany would be prepared to boost the coffers of the European Stability Mechanism when it is launched later this year.

She was speaking after her meeting with Mr Monti adding that she had “great respect” for the economic measure being implemented by Italy to reduce its debt pile.

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"I think they will strengthen Italy, will improve its economic prospects and we have watched with great respect how quickly they have been implemented," she said.

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