The Monti Factor

Plenty has been written about Monti’s taking charge of Italy. But there is another dimension in his appointment. A wise man will be joining the The European Council.

Mario Monti was a member of the Reflection Group on the Future of Europe, also known as the Wise Men’s Group of Felpie Gonzales. I have been observing, admiring and learning from “il professore” for almost two years. Not only were his proposals intelligent. Wise was the way in which they were put forward and diplomatic the ways in which he was building support for them.

His main theme at the time was a grand bargain: more single market in exchange for tax harmonization. This was back in 2010 when the debt numbers were small. Today, behind the round table of the European Council, he will need to build alliances for an even grander bargain: More solidarity in resolving the sovereign debt crisis in exchange for less sovereignty of the member states, and, here comes the carrot, greater overall economic growth.

The indebted periphery finally got a voice that the core will have to listen to. But only as long as the members of the Italian parliament will listen to him as well.

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