Since his government ended in the most difficult times for Europe, former Prime Minister Mario Monti (2011-2013) prefers to observe Italian politics from a distance. Receive La Vanguardia in his office in the Senate to talk about the electoral appointment this Sunday.
Campaigns are always the time of promises. This time there have been unprecedented and notably unreal promises. But in the end whoever is in government will have to render accounts to Europe and this explains why the markets are quite calm. What worries me is that if Europe ends up being again the scapegoat of all evils, it will be increasingly unfriendly to public opinion.
None of the candidates will probably be prime minister.
One thing that disgusts me as an Italian, now that I am completely out, is that everyone has lost the opportunity to ask the voters for a strong and serious mandate like the one that the candidate Emmanuel Macron asked a year ago in France. Now he is in a process of structural reforms that are difficult and unpopular, but he has the great advantage of being able to say that he was elected with that mandate. That gives it strength, and it has not happened in Italy.Now Antonio Tajani has come into play. Is it a solution?It is a well-known personality in Europe. He has had the confidence of the European Parliament that has chosen him president and surely has a continued European ideal.
Berlusconi repeats that he was expelled in 2011 for a coup d’état. It is true?
(He points out an interview with Berlusconi in February 2012) Here he is asked if he feels a victim of a blow. The answer: “It was me who resigned due to responsibility and sense of state.” This is what he has said on many occasions. The reality is that to recover the confidence of the markets I needed to reform the pensions, the League did not want and I did it with Minister Fornero. They are the first elections in Italy at the time of the fake news. False news involves fake programs and a false story.His pension reform, in fact, was strongly criticized. Do you still defend it today?
Absolutely. We had to do it in 15 days. If we had waited another week there would have been a financial explosion. There were imperfections, but six years and three governments have passed, there have been many criticisms and small changes. My prediction is that the government that comes will not eliminate it. From a cynical point of view of political calculation, it is easier to blame Monti and Fornero.
Are you worried that the sacrifices made by the Italians during their rule are lost?
I worried a lot when my government ended, in the 2013 elections, because any of the coalitions that I won would have taken Italy out of the way and then yes, the great sacrifices would have disappeared. We had managed to save Italy without borrowing, and saw the risk that all the work of a few months would vanish. This was the reason why, going against my nature, I decided to enter the scene with a formation, Scelta Civica, which achieved 10% of the votes and thus prevented one or the other coalition from having the necessary majority. If not, in all likelihood we would have seen Berlusconi as president of the Republic, we would not have had Letta, Renzi or Gentiloni or President Mattarella.
Could Renzi have been the Italian Macron?
I supported it with enthusiasm at the beginning. He has shown a great capacity to overcome obstacles and to speak to the country with very effective communication, but as head of government he has been less able. It’s about directing an orchestra, not being a soloist. He has lost many sympathies because he needs to create enemies like the air he breathes.
In this chaotic landscape, what is your solution?
I think that the most dangerous scenario will not take place, an alliance between the anti-European populists of the 5 Star Movement and the League. We will have a more or less grand coalition, which is not necessarily a bad thing. I theorize, because I have had the chance to practice it, that when there are hard measures to take, having a great support helps.
What have the Italian politicians done wrong so that populism has grown in this way?
That is a good question. It derives a bit from this tendency of Italian citizens to think that responsibilities are always those who govern and not our collectively, as citizens, in the great tax evasion that exists. But also, from my personal experience, I say that the Italian political parties gave evidence of high responsibility in the period between 2011 and 2013. But when it came 2013, instead of claiming and saying “we could have ended up like Greece and we have not done it” They reneged and criticized a government that was no longer there, mine, and Europe.