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Napolitano in Strasbourg: “Austerity policy at any cost no longer will work”

Napolitano in Strasbourg: “Austerity policy at any cost no longer will work”

The President of the Italian Republic addresses the European Parliament and calls for more flexibility in financial recovery timing and enhanced care for growth and employment. Following a protest from the Italian Northern League, Napolitano condemned “the destructive agitation against the Euro”: elections will be “the moment of truth.”

The President of the Italian Republic addresses the European Parliament and calls for more flexibility in financial recovery timing and enhanced care for growth and employment. Following a protest from the Italian Northern League, Napolitano condemned “the destructive agitation against the Euro”: elections will be “the moment of truth.”

Napolitano

from our correspondent in Strasbourg Letizia Pascale

It was impossible not to implement “severe stabilisation interventions” and “drastic measures to contain the deficit/GDP ratio” but they “had undoubtedly had serious consequences”. Thus, “austerity policy at any cost no longer will work.” President Napolitano addressed the European Parliament during a formal sitting, showing his deeply Europeistic view once more, citing Altiero Spinelli and saying “nothing can make us turn back from Europe.” Yet, he is also ready to underline the current problems of Europe and to ask for corrections.

The crisis of the European Union lies in the “deteriorating of the living conditions” which is currently affecting vast shares of the population, and the fact that sums it up is “the rise in unemployment and the sharp increase in youth unemployment.” It is then impossible to rely solely on rebalancing public financing, more flexibility is needed.

“Sustained, qualified growth,” said President Napolitano, “clearly requires reform, but besides simply referring to clear parameters, we also need a great attention to be paid to the effective conditions of debt sustainability in each country and, connected there too, we need to be flexible enough in terms of the ways and the timing for bringing about further financial rebalance.” That is to say, let’s go on with consolidating public finances but it is necessary to help both growth and employment. A call for the European Commission maybe, which is expected to vote on the “investment clause” that could give Italy a little relief on the deficit/GDP ratio.

Italy, over the last two years, “has put in major efforts and made sacrifices, as the target of major pressure on financial markets,” underlined President Napolitano, adding that “not even the clear improvement we saw over 2013 can push us back away from this commitment to progressively bringing about a substantial reduction in our debt, a weighty burden that national leaders cannot simply offload onto the upcoming generations.”

President Napolitano dedicated large part of his address to defending Europe, against the populistic and anti-European wave that manifested in the Emisphere too. While the President was condemning “the destructive agitation against the euro and the European Union,” the Italian Northern League MEPs stood up wearing their green scarf, whistling and showing “No Euro” signs. President Schulz sedated the protest and asked President Napolitano to go on with his speech, being applauded by the other MEPs. According to Napolitano, “there is empty propaganda and little credibility from those who has spoken out” against the history of European integration. That is, eurosceptics. “How can people talk about the end of the European dream claiming that the end could involve the abandonment of euro to save the Union? The traumatic consequences and the feasibility of doing that are seen with terrifying simplicity by some people, and really, that would be such an improbable change,” added President Napolitano. “This moment of truth must be lived the fullest, with all its implications,” said President Napolitano, referring to the forthcoming European Parliament Elections.

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