Domenica, 21 Ottobre 2018

Rehn says Berlusconi failed to respect EU commitments


(see related story)
Brussels, January 29 - European Economic and
Monetary Affairs Commissioner Olli Rehn on Tuesday accused
ex-premier Silvio Berlusconi of deliberately ignoring Italy's
commitments to the EU when he was still at the helm of
government in autumn 2011.
Berlusconi resigned as prime minister in November 2011 when
Italy's debt crisis threatened to spiral out of control, making
way for outgoing Premier Mario Monti's emergency technocrat
In the months leading up to his resignation, Berlusconi's
government was involved in tense negotiations with the European
Commission over the measures Italy needed to take to emerge from
the crisis.
Rehn said the demise of Berlusconi's third government
showed looser fiscal policy would not help countries embroiled
in the eurozone crisis.
"Italy made some promises of fiscal consolidation in the
middle of the summer (of 2011), in part to facilitate the
European Central Bank's intervention with its programme of
buying bonds on the secondary market," Rehn said.
"The commitment started, the ECB intervened and for a brief
period, the situation improved.
"But in the autumn (of 2011) Berlusconi's government
decided not to respect Italy's commitments any more and the
result was the drying up of loans, which suffocated growth...
"This situation led to the political crisis and the Monti
The commissioner added that since then Italy has regained
the confidence of the money markets, following austerity
measures and economic reforms introduced by Monti, and borrowing
costs have come down.
"This is an example of the effect of confidence in action,"
said Rehn.
Berlusconi is leading the centre right's campaign for next
month's Italian election, but he has said he will not be premier
if his coalition wins.
The centre right is second in the polls behind Pier Luigi
Bersani's centre-left coalition, although a media blitz by
Berlusconi in recent weeks has narrowed the gap considerably.
Monti is also standing on a reform ticket backed by
centrist parties that is vying for third place in the polls at
the moment with comedian Beppe Grillo's anti-establishment Five
Star Movement.

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