May 18th, 2012
12:54 PM ET

Italy PM: Stronger Europe will emerge from crisis

TIME magazine calls him "the most important man" in Europe: Italy's Prime Minister Mario Monti has been trying to reform Italy and reassure the markets, all while keeping the Germans happy, too.

What does the former European commissioner (dubbed "Super Mario" for his work in international finance) expect out of the G8 summit, what does he think of the competing views about the economy in Europe and what kind of Europe will emerge from the crisis?

CNN's Fareed Zakaria sat down with him for an exclusive interview in Washington on Friday. Check out some excerpts above and below, and watch the full interview on "Fareed Zakaria GPS" on Sunday, 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. ET on CNN.

ZAKARIA: Can you say confidently that what will come out of this crisis will be a deeper and more integrated Europe and not a Europe that breaks up in some way?

MONTI: I am confident and I would even say that the Greek crisis, if we take it in the first manifestations in early 2010, has concerned very vividly that Europe becomes adult and stronger through crisis because we may be able or unable to ultimately solve the specific crisis in Greece, but in the process we have achieved a much higher degree of ex ante coordination of national fiscal policies. We have put in place firewalls to reduce contagion effects. ... The ECB in its autonomy has been able to find new techniques of intervention. So clearly, the governance of the EU has been improved by the Greek crisis.

On the Greek crisis:

On conflicting views of dealing with economic crisis:

ZAKARIA: Do you believe that at this G8 summit you're going to see a clash between a German view that says fiscal discipline above all, and a view of some others that you've got to open up demand, stimulate these economies in some way or the other?

MONTI: I think these two positions need to be bridged, and that's why we link back to the notion of which demand - if it is demand to remove bottlenecks in the supply of goods and services, so broadly investment demand - I think we should regard it more positively than the most conservative European authorities do. On the other hand, if it is an across-the-board crusade for more demand, then I believe that the German reluctance to that is not entirely unfounded.

And for the U.S., it's easier to be very relaxed on even huge expansions of demand, however financed - but it's difficult to forget - one should never forget - seeing from Washington that not each part of the world is a reserve currency country.

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Topics: Economy • Italy • Politics

soundoff (45 Responses)
  1. Aaron Chaney

    Romney vs. Frankenstein (Obama)

    Put simply, better the devil you don't know. Vote Romney.

    May 18, 2012 at 1:12 pm | Reply
    • Hahahahahahaha

      But we already know the "Borrow and Spend" GOP devil. Hahahahahahaha

      May 18, 2012 at 2:42 pm | Reply
    • Patrick-2

      Why vote fot either, Aaron? One is as bad as the other!

      May 18, 2012 at 4:06 pm | Reply
      • ✠ RZ ✠

        The only true modern democracy is one that is based on annual personal tax contributions, where each tax dollar you pay is like a common share of a corporation, and where anyone can run for a position on the board of governors. Unfortunately, this does not yet exist in any country, certainly none that I've heard of anyhow.

        LET THE PEOPLE WHO PAY, HAVE THE SAY !

        May 18, 2012 at 11:09 pm |
    • GOP hates America

      A vote for Mittens is a vote to make an official plutocracy........no thanks.

      May 19, 2012 at 10:19 pm | Reply
  2. Secret {Police

    Europe is a very good example of whats to come if all we do domestically is cut spending, I really dont see how ppl think Romney is gonna be the guy to create jobs. If all his experience is based on Bain Capital and Gov of Mass, thats no record to run on or experience that your average american can be comfortable with. Thats all off topic, GO Italy for finally electing someone that will do your country good, although i did love all thsoe great headlines Burlosconi used to generate...and those awesome self portraits of his

    May 18, 2012 at 1:45 pm | Reply
    • Chris

      More spending? Exactly when did Europe cut spending domestically. All cuts to date have occurred in countries that literally have no $$$ to spend. They're reliant on other sovereign nations to loan them money to simply stay afloat. You're basically saying that Germany has to loan the PIGS more money with the understanding that it will never be repaid. That's like me telling you that you have to give the keys to your car to a car thief for the good of the neighborhood... else he might start some kind of a ruckus.

      May 18, 2012 at 2:43 pm | Reply
  3. technologyguy

    The problem with Europe is that most of the European countries' people have become used to a lifestyle that they don't deserve with the amount and kind of work they do. They need generous retirement benefits, higher salaries, holidays and an ability to buy what they want (vs what they need) on credit. But the amount of work they do and the kind of work they can do, can be done much for much lesser price in some other part of the world, mainly China, India etc.

    To maintain such a lifestyle, they need continuous supply of cash to keep their economies artificially performing.

    This is possible only in USA because US prints something on a paper and say this is a dollar i.e. cash. But in Europe it's not the case. They have to take cash from somewhere, mainly from Germany and Germany then has a right to dictate certain conditions. Why ? Because Germany itself doesn't print the reserve currency but rather its people earned that through hard word. Why would they dole out their people's hard earned cash to their lazy European comrades ?

    May 18, 2012 at 3:26 pm | Reply
    • Ziggy

      Well said, technologyguy... the gimme, gimme folks wouldn't agree but it has always been thus. Sadly, it has become pandemic in the Euro Zone, not to mention here, to boot.

      May 18, 2012 at 3:44 pm | Reply
      • RealClassWarfare

        When the "Real Class Warfare" starts, those gimmie, gimmie people turn into the takie, takie people. And guess what? Everyone posting here will be in the takie, takie group.

        May 18, 2012 at 4:01 pm |
  4. NoItWont

    No it won't.

    May 18, 2012 at 3:56 pm | Reply
    • Warren

      You're probably right NoItWont, unless China itself bails out the Eurozone which it probably will sooner or later. Unfortunately, that will only prolong Europe's woes!

      May 18, 2012 at 4:03 pm | Reply
  5. j. von hettlingen

    Very true, signore Monti, "Europe becomes adult and stronger through crisis". Its leaders might have learned a lesson out of the crisis, but many of its citizens still behave like a bunch of unruly teenagers, who want to possess an i-Phone, but they aren't ready to find a job and pay for their bills.

    May 18, 2012 at 4:09 pm | Reply
    • j. von hettlingen

      Signore Monti, with you at Italy's helm, the country will be saved! VIVA ITALIA!
      Indeed, Greece is seeing a capital flight, thanks to the abolition of border control within the Schengen Zone. When Francois Mitterand was elected in 1981, French border patrols controlled the Swiss borders to prevent capital flight from France. Italy knew similar phenomenon on the Swiss-Italian border too. No that Italians were afraid of their "financial police", but because they had no faith in Italy's politics.

      May 18, 2012 at 4:23 pm | Reply
  6. Stargoat

    Who cares what Super Mario says about the economy. Balotelli is an amazing football player, but I doubt he knows what a supply and demand curve are.

    Stupid Americans. Super Mario is Mari Balotelli. He's a striker at Manchester City (that's not Manchester United, btw). That's football, or as you call it, soccer.

    May 18, 2012 at 4:11 pm | Reply
  7. Enzo

    What a stupid comment about Mario Balotelli. Also: one says `Signor Monti`, not `Signore`. Obama is fine with me, I am a supporter, but you`d need one like Mario Monti rather than that ignorant Romney, who understands nothing about economics (or about anything else). )(

    May 18, 2012 at 5:50 pm | Reply
    • .

      Yo, Enzo!

      The socialists have run out of other people's money.

      Just in case you didn't know.

      May 19, 2012 at 7:51 am | Reply
      • ..

        Yo Dot! You think you are a rich republican right? Why don't you post how much you make and what your net worth is. People like you always want to post that information to make yourselves look better than others. Come on!!! I know you want to post it!!!!!!!! It will be funny!!!!!

        May 21, 2012 at 2:00 pm |
  8. Matt A.

    Stronger Europe? Give it a few decades.

    May 18, 2012 at 6:13 pm | Reply
    • .

      A few centuries. They've got to figure out socialism doesn't work. It'll take generations.

      More's the pity.

      May 19, 2012 at 7:50 am | Reply
      • ..

        Yo Dot! You think you are a rich republican right? Why don't you post how much you make and what your net worth is. People like you always want to post that information to make yourselves look better than others. Come on!!! I know you want to post it!!!!!!!! It will be funny!!!!!

        May 21, 2012 at 2:02 pm |
  9. ✠ RZ ✠

    Stimulate ? STIMULATE ?!? If I wanted to borrow money and stimulate myself with it, I certainly wouldn't want to hire a bunch of politicians, bureaucrats, and bankers to do it ! They can just go and STIMULATE THEMSELVES with their own damn money !!!

    May 18, 2012 at 9:32 pm | Reply
  10. magneticink

    ...stayed tuned for the "full Monti"...

    May 18, 2012 at 11:31 pm | Reply
  11. .

    A stronger Europe dominated by socialists?

    The only thing stronger about Europe will be the stench.

    May 19, 2012 at 7:49 am | Reply
    • HeywoodJablome

      warning, butt frustrated tea bagger ahead.

      May 19, 2012 at 6:51 pm | Reply
      • .

        Tea bag was something the football did to your mother under the bleachers.

        And you popped out nine months later.

        Now we're stuck with you, you moron.

        May 21, 2012 at 7:28 am |
  12. Oodoodanoo

    Romney lies about his past record, lies about the President's record, takes no stand on difficult issues, and won't talk to the press.

    Basically, he knows that if America really got to know him, they wouldn't like him. His election strategy is basically to fool the public until November.

    I understand that politicians have to lie sometimes, but he seems to enjoy it.

    May 19, 2012 at 11:59 am | Reply
    • .

      25 million people have given up trying to find work.

      You wanna tell us Obama's lie about THAT one?

      May 21, 2012 at 7:27 am | Reply
  13. Tr1Xen

    I totally have the SMB theme stuck in my head now. Thanks CNN.

    May 19, 2012 at 3:29 pm | Reply
  14. Jason Glugla

    What we need is more austerity for those already suffering and more billions for billionaires.

    May 19, 2012 at 6:09 pm | Reply
    • .

      Put the hooka pipe down, you idiot. You've smoked your pea brain to death.

      May 21, 2012 at 7:26 am | Reply
  15. GOP hates America

    "Super Mario" is just a puppet of Goldman Sachs, he was a paid economic advisor for Goldman Sachs years ago........yes, the same Goldman Sachs that helped Greece cook their books to get into the euro and inflate its worth......."Super Mario" is there to ensure that the Bankster Thugs get their dues, all austerity, no growth.....bye bye democracy!

    May 19, 2012 at 10:21 pm | Reply
    • .

      The GOP doesn't hate America. YOU hate America.

      May 21, 2012 at 7:25 am | Reply
  16. soundboard

    Here's a simple solution to screwed up mess, have a people's refendeum on the government to pass a law that requires them to only be able spend up to 95% of what the government makes. Once these governments pay off their debts, the continued 5% can be used for extreme conditions such as disasters and wartime surplus. REMEMBER IN A DEMOCRACY, WE GIVE THE POWER TO THEM. So why not take it back when they screw it up.

    May 20, 2012 at 8:50 am | Reply
  17. flushtheparasitesdown

    as their own firewall against the leaches, greeks have already built alternative local economies, in which they have websites where they trade their goods and services with credits. an easy and just barter system without participating in the exploitative system. once again, they are showing humanity how real democracy is done.

    May 20, 2012 at 4:38 pm | Reply
    • Patrick

      Could you define "exploitative system"?

      May 20, 2012 at 5:34 pm | Reply
  18. REDNECKWHITEBOY

    The problem is meth . To many leaders all over earth are taking drugs that they always come up with these ....strange reasons ...and never talk about the real issue about helping people

    May 20, 2012 at 9:26 pm | Reply
  19. .

    A stronger Europe will only emerge when they come to the realization that socialism is not sustainable.

    Unfortunately, that is not going to happen anytime soon.

    Are you paying attention, Amerika?

    May 21, 2012 at 7:24 am | Reply
  20. Pete

    Get the treasure trove of coins in the sewer of level 8-4, Super Mario!

    May 21, 2012 at 8:15 am | Reply
  21. Voiceinthedesert/Troubledgoodangel

    I agree with Mario Monti that Europe has learned from the Greece experience. However, I do not care for his phrase, "all while keeping the Germans happy, too." Oh, Boy, don't give me that Hitler era linguaggio! That's straight from the mouth of Mussolini and Conte Ciano! I am a victim of World War II! My parents died because of that, and all my possessions were obliterated! I have had enough of Germany, and I could care less if they are "happy" or "miserable"!

    May 21, 2012 at 5:59 pm | Reply
  22. Matt

    Natural disasters you have to spend debt, debt, under Eurobonds Germany takes on that debt, that will be the end of them. I don't have a barge pole long enough to push away Eurobonds. No fiscal rules can prevent that natural disasters spending more debt. Better it is your debt than Angie's debt. Germany will end up like the rest of Europe given time.

    May 29, 2012 at 8:11 pm | Reply
  23. Selina Markham

    The UK Government recently issued a report about barter and multilateral trade as a way for businesses to save cash. A copy of the report can be found here: http://www.bit.ly/KSwB0P

    "We are all aware of the shortcomings of conventional finance, so it shouldn’t surprise many to learn that the business world has continued to develop alternatives for some time. Both the general concept and the practical implementation of bilateral and multi-lateral barter and ‘nonmonetary’ exchange are not, in fact, new, but what may surprise people is to know how large a share of world trade takes place in non-monetary terms, more than 20% by some accounts, especially in the form of countertrade,"

    Stuart Fraser
    Chairman, Policy and Resources Committee for the City of London
    5 December 2011

    “Barter capacity exchange could act as a major stimulus to both domestic and international trade, something of great interest to all in Government and business seeking to promote sustainable growth and prosperity. Countertrade and barter accounts for a significant and growing percentage of global trade worth over US$ 100bn and accepted by over 100 countries as a form of commerce. London is at the heart of global financial services. It has the right talent and the right regulatory and business environment to ensure that high quality, value creating innovation of the sort which an international capacity exchange could represent, has the best opportunity to succeed.”

    Andrew Levy
    Managing Director, UK Trade and Investment
    5 December 2011

    It should be noted that the SWISS WIR have had a multilateral trade network oprerating as a complimentary currency for approximately 80 years. With more than 80,000 participants performing approximately 1.8 billion swiss francs per annum in transactions between them (Approximately 1% of Swiss GDP).

    WIR has not only been successful but it has survived to the present and thrived because the system provides benefits beyond cushioning its members from economic downturns.

    Other global multilateral barter exchange networks such as the Ormita Commerce Network Barter Exchange (http://www.ormita.com and http://www.ormitausa.com) offer the ability for businesses to exchange excess capacity for essential goods and services. monetises capacity in areas which are asset rich but cash poor. When credit is hard to come by, surplus capacities are often found wanting of a market. On the other hand, buyers for those products may exist but be unable to afford traditional forms of payment. If both buyer and seller suffer from excess capacity (or able to generate new sales at a lower incremental cost) then a trade can be made without a great deal of cash and the needs of both participants can be met.

    As more cash expenses are offset in this manner the need for national currency is reduced accordingly and the profitability of each subsequent transaction rises.

    June 4, 2012 at 5:03 pm | Reply
  24. Giorgio Azzalin

    Just to give you an example how deep is the problem in Italy ,the President of a region ( like a county) of 150,000 people make more money of the President of USA.
    Monti negotiated a "life Senator seat" yes life! before accepting the Prime minister job.
    real tax rate is around 65/75% sale taxes 21%. There is a tax if you own a TV set ! just to finance the state propaganda,State owned Alitalia went in bankruptcy but the labor in execs was paid for 7 years as severance package !No way out in this situation for Italy and maybe the south Europe the only solution is a war ,can be economic war or with real guns .

    September 25, 2012 at 3:43 pm | Reply

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