News / Europe

Mario Monti to Lead Italy's New Government

Italy's new premier-designate economist Mario Monti walks past a Cuirassier presidential guard at the Quirinale Presidential Palace in Rome after talks with Italian President Giorgio Napolitano, Sunday, Nov. 13, 2011.
Italy's new premier-designate economist Mario Monti walks past a Cuirassier presidential guard at the Quirinale Presidential Palace in Rome after talks with Italian President Giorgio Napolitano, Sunday, Nov. 13, 2011.
Henry Ridgwell

Italian Prime Minister-designate Mario Monti, a former top EU commissioner, has been asked by the country's president to form a new government.  The move comes a day after Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi's resignation, following international financial concerns about the Italian economy.

After at least 17 meetings with senior politicians on Sunday, Italian President Giorgio Napolitano asked Mario Monti to form a new government.

The former EU commissioner said he would fight to grow the country's economy and rebuild pride in Italy. "I intend to fulfill this task with a great sense of responsibility and service toward our country,” he said.  “In a moment of particular difficulty for Italy, in a turbulent situation for Europe and the world," he added, "the country needs to meet the challenge," he said.

Former coalition partners, the Northern League Party, have refused to back Mr. Monti as prime minister, instead calling for early elections.  Analysts say it is a sign that prime minister-designate faces a tough challenge in implementing a major austerity package that was approved by parliament in the past week to reduce Italy's huge public debt.

The naming of Mario Monti as Italy's new prime minister came less than 24 hours after Silvio Berlusconi’s resignation, which was cheered on the streets of Rome.

Italy’s borrowing costs soared last week and investors made it clear they wanted Mr. Berlusconi out of office.  He addressed the nation on television on Sunday. "Italy is among the founders of the European Union," he said.  "We will be at Italy's service, as always.  To those who celebrated, to salute what they call my exit from the scene, I want to say very clearly, I will redouble my efforts in parliament and institutions to renew Italy," he said.

The new cabinet is expected to be announced on Monday.  And analysts say it faces a daunting challenge.  Italy’s government debt is about 120 percent of the country's gross domestic product.  And Italy's economic growth has been nearly stagnant for a decade and a half.

Political analyst Claudio Borghi says Italy’s problems are too great for the new government to solve by itself. “One should think, ‘Is it a problem of Italy or is it a problem of the architecture of the euro debt that has to be changed, deeply?’  Because Italy, of course, can need a lot of reforms.  But it’s like if someone had a heart attack.  So he has a heart attack and people start to complain that he’s fat, that he has to do a diet, that he has to go to the gym.  It is true.  We have to do a diet; we have to go to the gym.  But at the moment, it is the heart attack that matters and we are not going to change it with reforms," he said.

Investors will be watching the financial markets this week for reaction to how Mr. Monti addresses Italy's economic situation.

You May Like

DRC Tries Mega-Farms to Feed Population

Park at Boukanga Lonzo currently has 5,000 hectares under cultivation, crops stretching as far as eye can see, and is start of ambitious large-scale agriculture plan More

Video Survivor Video Testimonies Recount Horrors of Guatemalan Genocide

During a conflict that spanned more than three decades, tens of thousands of indigenous Mayans were killed More

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Areas are spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, source of livelihood for fishermen and herders who have called the marshes home for generations More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOAi
X
August 31, 2015 2:17 AM
Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOA

Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Iraq's southern wetlands are in crisis. These areas are the spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, and source of livelihood for fishermen and herders. Faith Lapidus has more.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Rebuilding New Orleans' Music Scene

Ten years after Hurricane Katrina inundated New Orleans, threatening to wash away its vibrant musical heritage along with its neighborhoods, the beat goes on. As Bronwyn Benito and Faith Lapidus report, a Musicians' Village is preserving the city's unique sound.
Video

Video In Russia, Auto Industry in Tailspin

Industry insiders say country relies too heavily on imports as inflation cuts too many consumers out of the market. Daniel Schearf has more from Moscow.
Video

Video Scientist Calls Use of Fetal Tissue in Medical Research Essential

An anti-abortion group responsible for secret recordings of workers at a women's health care organization claims the workers shown are offering baby parts for sale, a charge the organization strongly denies. While the selling of fetal tissue is against the law in the United States, abortion and the use of donated fetal tissue for medical research are both legal. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.

VOA Blogs