Berlin: Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti has voiced fears that tensions sparked by the Eurozone crisis have already turned countries against each other and must not be allowed to rip Europe apart.
Asked about resentment in Italy towards Germany and complaints of German arrogance in its handling of the debt crisis, Monti told Monday’s edition of the German news magazine Der Spiegel that he was “concerned”.
He said he had talked about growing resentment in Italy not only towards Germany and at times Chancellor Angela Merkel but also towards the EU and the euro, with Merkel herself, according to an advance copy of Der Spiegel.
But he said the problem went far beyond the relationship between Germany and Italy.
“The pressures, which have accompanied the Eurozone in recent years, already bear the traits of a psychological breakup of Europe,” Monti said. “We must work hard to contain it.”
And he warned that if the euro became a reason for Europe to drift apart, “the foundations of the European project” would be destroyed.
The Italian prime minister also said he welcomed comments by the European Central Bank last week that the government bond market, where Italy and Spain’s borrowing costs have soared, was distorted.
The problems behind this, he said, must be quickly resolved to prevent further uncertainty about the ability of the Eurozone to deal with the crisis.
He also called on government chiefs to maintain clear room for manoeuvre in relation to their national parliaments.
“If governments were to let themselves be bound completely by the decisions of their parliaments without maintaining their own scope for negotiation, Europe is more likely to break up than see closer integration,” he warned.
German lawmaker Hans Michelbach said Monti’s call for euro-region governments to retain some freedom from their parliaments’ decisions contains “anti-democratic” aspects that are incompatible with European principles.
“Politics for Europe that decouple from democratically elected parliaments can only lose support in the population,” Michelbach said in an e-mailed statement. “They lead to a dictatorship of the eurocrats who only see citizens as an inconvenient obstacle.”
Monti Spiegel that European governments should maintain some room to manoeuvre with their parliaments because complete submission to the rights of lawmakers would make “the breakup of Europe more likely than a tighter integration.’
Michael Meister, the deputy leader in parliament of German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union, called for ‘’not less, but more democracy in Europe,” the Tagesspiegel newspaper reported after Monti’s remarks, citing an interview. Governments must be careful not to lose democratic legitimacy, Rainer Bruederle, the floor leader in parliament of Merkel’s Free Democratic Party coalition ally, told Tagesspiegel.
The planned purchases of government bonds by the European Central Bank “are a continued violation of ECB rules” and hinder the euro region’s recovery because they take pressure off governments to change their policies, Michelbach, a coalition lawmaker from the Christian Social Union, the Bavarian sister party of Merkel’s CDU, also said.
“Now Monti is asking for bond purchases again,