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Questo articolo è stato pubblicato il 30 gennaio 2013 alle ore 06:40.


The euro is a key factor in the 2013 election campaign, being both hero and villain. Italians have some trouble digesting the commitments they have made in the Eurozone, particularly when it comes to tightening the belt and balancing the budget. But the fact is Italians remain Europeans and pro-euro. Riding the wave of budgetary constraints does not necessarily generate votes and political parties are cautious.

This theme was kick started yesterday by EU Commissioner for Monetary Affairs Olli Rehn, who, in front of the EU Parliament, "rapped the knuckles" of Silvio Berlusconi over his role as former Prime Minister: «In the autumn of 2011, Berlusconi's government decided to no longer respect commitments to reforms and fiscal consolidation» and the result has been the "crisis" of politics and the arrival of Monti's government.
Rehn's speech takes us back to 4 November 2011 and the famous letter of commitments the EU sent off to Italy. An unusual act: Rehn sent a letter to the then Treasury Minister Giulio Tremonti. Five pages thick with 39 questions, through which the EU asked for institutional answers. In Brussels they wanted to be sure that Rome could actually carry out the required adjustments, without sliding on the numbers. So the questions fell on infrastructure, pensions, education, public administration and simplification of competition. Rehn asked Tremonti to implement the measures promised by Silvio Berlusconi. The Cavaliere had already received, back in August 5, a confidential letter from the Ecb contaning a detailed economic policy agenda.

At the time, as is happening now, the political debate was about how far Europe could poke its nose into other people's business, in other words how far it could "meddle" in the affairs of domestic economic policy without "violating" national sovereignty. Yesterday, the PDL - which was targeted by Rehn - accused the EU commissioner of trying to "trip up" an election campaign already underway with inexplicably damaging effects on Berlusconi to the benefit of Mario Monti.
However, despite the broadsides accusing the EU of "unacceptable intrusion" even the most critical voices - such as Berlusconi and Grillo - are careful not to say too much against the EU without at the same time keeping a sense of balance. Why would that be? Simply because the forecasts show a high level of confidence among Italian citizens towards EU institutions which across the board were placed first (out of six) by the latest Ispo forecast, followed by Confindustria (Italian employers' federation) and the Stock Exchange. In contrast at the bottom of the list we find the Italian parliament, followed by banks and finally, in last place, political parties, which are trusted by only 6% of those represented in the sample. Given that, it's much too risky to attack Europe even during an election campaign.
(Traduzione di James Tierney)

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