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«Lei parla a vanvera, giovanotto!
No, penso a dei critici con la barba».

Non è un fallimento del sistema, è un fallimento dell'Italia

In un'intervista al «Financial Times», Joaquín Almunia, commissario europeo per gli affari economici e monetari, spiega come i problemi economici dell'Italia dipendano dalla cattiva gestione del nostro Paese e non dall'Europa.

[Il largo sorriso di Joacquin Almunia]Il Financial Times pubblica con data di ieri un'intervista a Joaquín Almunia, commissario europeo per gli affari economici e monetari.

Ciò che dice Almunia suona come una campana a morto per le politiche economiche del governo italiano. La recessione che colpisce soprattutto l'Italia, dice il commissario, non è colpa del sistema di controllo dei deficit nazionali adottato di comune accordo dai paesi dell'euro, ma è colpa dei Paesi interessati. I vecchi sistemi come la svalutazione della moneta nazionale e l'incremento del deficit non solo oggi non possono essere usati, perché i parametri di Maastricht lo vietano, ma, se fossero usati, avrebbero ricadute pessime su una nazione come l'Italia, in cui il debito pubblico è superiore addirittura al prodotto interno lordo (attualmente nella misura del 106%).

L'unica strada per risollevare la situazione economica dell'Italia passa dunque per riforme strutturali. Riforme, riforme, riforme è ciò che chiede all'Italia anche Karl-Heinz Grasser, ministro delle finanze austriaco, che invita Berlusconi a smetterla di lamentarsi cercando di scaricare sull'Europa quelle che sono invece colpe del suo governo e della sua politica economica.

Ecco di seguito il testo dell'articolo del Financial Times, i cui contenuti sono ripresi oggi anche da L'Unità.

Cheer up and face challenges, commissioner tells politicians

By Ralph Atkins and George Parker
Published: May 16 2005 03:00 | Last updated: May 16 2005 03:00

Joaquín Almunia, the EU's monetary affairs commissioner, has a mischievous smile that spreads across his whole face as he speaks of moderate optimism for the year ahead. If only he could get Europe's gloomy consumers and investors to agree.

European exports to more perky economic regions keep the EU ticking over, but the prevailing mood across the 12-country eurozone is one of pessimism.

The Spanish commissioner criticises Europe's politicians for failing to carry out reforms needed to convince citizens they can master the forces of globalisation.

In the case of Italy, now in recession and facing grave long-term problems, he wants to put pressure on Silvio Berlusconi's government to confront the need for reform.

He hopes stable oil prices and the prospect of a Yes vote in the French referendum on the EU constitution can galvanise Europe into a more upbeat frame of mind.

We consider that the conditions for a sustained recovery in the eurozone are there, he told the Financial Times in an interview.

We expect during this year a recovery in internal demand and a pick-up in investment - a better impulse from consumption so that internal demand will substitute for external demand, he said.

One policy option backed by politicians in Italy, and to a lesser extent in Germany, is a cut in interest rates. Such a move, however, has been ruled out by the European Central Bank, which fears it would simply add to excess liquidity in the eurozone without promoting growth.

Mr Almunia, a Basque Socialist, refuses to comment directly on ECB decisions, but offered the bank support.

If you ask me if I think that monetary policy is creating restrictions to growth in the eurozone, I would say to you that it is not. Rather than monetary or fiscal policy it is a problem of a lack of growth potential.

At a meeting of the Ecofin council of finance ministers at the weekend, Jean-Claude Juncker, its president, said he was seriously worried by the growing divergences between some eurozone members.

The ECB has also identified the problem, although Mr Almunia insists such divergences are no greater than in the past - indeed he brandishes a chart showing they are narrower than in the recent past.

But one country whose performance is causing alarm across the EU is Italy. Karl-Heinz Grasser, Austria's outspoken finance minister, said the Berlusconi government had to reform, reform, reform and stop blaming others for its problems.

It's not a failure of the system, it's a failure of the countries involved, he said.

Mr Almunia shares those concerns, noting that Italy's membership of the eurozone means it cannot take the traditional devaluation route out of its problems.

Although Italy wants the ECB to cut rates below 2 per cent, the commissioner points out that they are at a very low level by the country's standards - a fact that is hugely beneficial when Rome has to service a public debt equivalent to 106 per cent of its gross domestic product.

Think what the situation would be in Italy if the currency wasn't in the euro, regarding interest rates and the debt burden.

Mr Almunia also intends to apply pressure on Mr Berlusconi not to fall into the temptation to cut taxes or raise government spending to try to get out of the recession; Italy's deficit already tops the EU's 3 per cent limit.

He intends to recommend that action be taken against Italy under the remodelled "flexible" stability and growth pact, urging Mr Berlusconi to cut the deficit. He will ask EU members to endorse the plan at the July Ecofin.

It's an opportunity to show that the stability and growth pact still exists, he said. It is vital for the good functioning of economic and monetary union.

You can't reach a satisfactory monetary policy and have each national parliament deciding on budgetary policy without any co-ordination.

Articolo di Michele Diodati pubblicato il  17/5/2005 alle ore 8,58.

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