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Tuesday, August 09, 2011

A simple "Grazie" would do

Italian paper Il Messaggero offers juicy backstage details straight from Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi's Villa Certosa in Sardinia (jikes). Not that we expected that Il Cavaliere would be happy about being bossed around by the ECB as the latter required concrete economic reforms in return for providing Italy with a lifeline. However, the comments reported by the paper - taken from private conversations between Berlusconi and some key Italian ministers - beat expectations.

This is what Berlusconi reportedly said,

“With all those letters and communiqués, they [according to the paper, 'they' refer to the ECB, French President Nicolas Sarkozy and German Chancellor Angela Merkel] made us appear as a government under a compulsory administration. This is not true. Also, they decided to intervene in favour of our bonds to save themselves, not Italy.”

He added,

“If the green light of individual countries is needed before the ECB can intervene, that means that the ECB is not yet, as it should be, the autonomous, authoritative and independent governor of the euro area. If it must be said, as [ECB President Jean-Claude] Trichet did, that in return for an intervention in favour of our bonds a political ‘yes’ was needed, then we have evidence of the fact that we’re far away from a communitarian governance which can frighten speculators. And if today it’s our turn, tomorrow it can be Paris’s turn.”

Apparently, Berlusconi's last point (by far the most interesting) was echoed by Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini, who is also quoted in the article saying,

“Sarkozy and Merkel know well that contagion from speculation can hit them too. Had they stopped the ECB from intervening, they would have also done a damage to their own countries.”

Hmmm, a simple 'grazie' would've been sufficient. To be fair, Berlusconi does have a point about the politicisation of the ECB.

1 comment:

Zocco said...

I am pleasently surprise by SB's grip on what is really happening here. He has gone up in my estimation ( albeit from a very low starting position)