By Julia Pastor, in Madrid | The Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti visited Berlin last week to meet with German Chancellor Angela Merkel. Monti, who was interviewed by the German newspaper Die Welt did not hesitate, despite his admiration for Germany, to criticise the actions of the Franco-German axis in resolving the debt crisis.
“Angela Merkel and Nicolás Sarkozy cannot lead the European Union by themselves,” he said.
Moreover, in the interview Monti directly referred to Germany’s and France’s failure to meet the Maastricht criteria in 2003 and stated that
“Europe must have several centres. And Italy is one of them […] We are a strong and proud country and ours is in principle an effective economy.”
However, throughout the interview he recognised that
“a good cooperation of the Franco-German tandem is an indispensable condition for the development of Europe”, and also “to strive for an Italy that resembles Germany as much as possible. I like Germany a lot. Especially because of its greatest achievement: a social economy market.”
“These statements are a good way of stirring the waters of an official visit… Monti applied the carrot and stick principle. In the interview one can read between the lines that Monti went to Berlin with the intention of obtaining concrete results from his words,” wrote the El Mundo correspondent for Germany in her blog.