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Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Italian elections: And now for the warnings from around Europe - stay the course, or else...

Responses to the extraordinary results of the Italian elections have started to come in from around the rest of Europe, the most interesting of which we include below. Predictably, an instant raft of warnings has come out  from Northern Europe and Brussels.

Kicking off is German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle who argued that:
“It is necessary for Italy – but also because Italy is so important – for the whole of Europe for a new strong and capable government to be formed as quickly as possible. The politically responsible people in Rome recognise that Italy needs a continuation of a policy of reform, of consolidation, one which is able to secure the confidence of the citizens and the markets.” 
If only the the "responsible people in Rome" were in charge of selecting a new PM. German Economy Minister Philipp Rösler also emphasised the need to stay the course, irrespective of government:
“I could have imagined a better outcome for the reformers in Italy. There is however no alternative to the previously adopted path of structural reforms.” 
As did the CDU/CSU’s parliamentary faction leader Michael Grosse-Brömer:
“The reform path of Monti has to be continued consequently.”
Not everyone in Germany agrees though, with SPD MP Klaus Barthel (very much on the left of the party) telling Handelsblatt that:
“Mrs Merkel delivered enough substance to Berlusconi’s nationalist slogans. Her advances to the teutons [i.e. traditional Germanic values] bring perhaps one or two votes [at home] but come back negatively a million times over from the neighbours.” 
Dutch Finance Minister and eurogroup head Jeroen Dijsselbloem told television broadcaster RTL-Z that:
"Having a stable government in Italy is important for Europe. In that respect, the outcome does not make us cheerful… I assume that, no matter what a new government in Italy looks like, it will live up to the agreements that have been made".
Over in Austria, Chancellor Werner Faymann gave a pretty cautious response:
“The euro remains stable even when in some countries it is not clear yet who will build the government.”
Meanwhile, over in France Finance Minister Pierre Moscovici said that while the result "creates problems", it would not undermine the single currency, while the Minister for Industrial Renewal, Arnaud Montebourg, claimed the result showed that "Italians do not agree with market imposed policies".

Belgian Foreign Minister Didier Reynders reacted as saying that:
"I fear for a deadlock during a certain period… If it now comes to a standstill this can be very dangerous, also for financial markets".
He should know a thing or two about political deadlocks...

Meanwhile, the European Commission (whose favoured candidate got a bit of a drubbing), also issued a hilariously contradictory response, claiming that "We clearly hear the message of concern expressed by Italian citizens”, while also arguing that Monti's reform and fiscal-consolidation agenda were necessary to "underpin everybody's confidence" in the Italian economy, and the Commission "expects compliance".


Luxembourg's Foreign Minister Jean Asselborn was clearly unhappy, arguing that:
"This is a scenario that no one had wished for... This is not just bad for Italy, but also a nightmare for Europe." 
Spanish Finance Minister Jose Manuel Garcia-Margallo was also alarmist, warning that there was "extreme concern" about the financial consequences, adding that "This is a jump to nowhere with positive consequences for nobody”.

Finally, the most forthright response has to go to Hans van Baalen, leader of Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte's VVD party in the European Parliament, who argued that:
“Italians must elect who they want to elect and must bear the consequences when they elect clowns."


FrancescoA said...

And what about the democracy?

Rik said...

That Westerwelle guy is a complete disaster. He is supposed to be in charge of German foreign policy but more things he says are against the interest of his own country than the other way around.
He simply seems to forget that these are democracies and have behind the government voters that have to be convinced. He missed the plot with the UK reneg ans now does it again. Especially now when it is so sensitive (Germany's role in Europe). He might understand the concept of one on one negotiations but clearly is found out if things play in a more complicated enviroment (like here: other countries; opposition there; possible elections there; top of the agenda and in the public spotlight issues; financial markets). Seems miles over his head.

Merkel might not take him seriously and most likely cannot get rid of him, but she should try to manage the issue better. This could have been well prepared weeks ago (being the worst case realistic scenario). Now the moron is stil time and time again making ad hoc public statements while not having a clue.
And the general public doesnot know Merkel sees him as a disaster (as well), for the general public he simply represents the voice and face of German foreign policy. If a country gets the role of a worldpower (like Germany in the Euro crisis) it has to act like one as well (and keep guys like Westerwelle away from the microphone or tell them what to say).

jon livesey said...

Amusing to see so many comments from euro-area capitals that basically say "Cool that you had an election, but now you have to continue the policies agreed by the Government you just booted out."

Ray said...

Not one of those comments from the various countries, and politicians gave any mention as to what the Italian People wanted, it was all about their project, regardless of how disreputable and corrupt it has become. More and more concrete being poured into sandy foundations, how much longer can it go on like this?

Freedom Lover said...

Although the very unclear Italian election result is NOT what the EU & its member states wanted, it is definitely what they NEEDED! Ie democracy. Despite all its faults, the result represents what the Italian people want, not what the Imperial EU elite want!

When the EU realizes that, political health will return to the currently very ethically SICK European continent. As that is unlikely to occur before the EU collapses, the best solution for EVERYONE in Europe is for the EU to be DISSOLVED. When? NOW!

christina speight said...

The sheer arrogance of these thwarted and spurned Euro-worshippers is almost incredible. But then the whole edifice was rotten from the start as most people knew but wouldn't say.

The Euro-elite seem to think that the Italian people will - after such a magnificent gesture of independence - will calmly acquiesce while those whom they voted for go back on their promises. Since there's likely to be another election this year the next time would be for breaking out altogether and shutting the whole corrupt EU down.

Yes, Freedom lover, you've got it right.