These are very intense days on the European front. In the ECON Committee of the EU Parliament we are continuing with hearings and other activities. On Tuesday morning we performed a video conference with Minister Gualtieri who illustrated the challenges for the Union and the Italian Government’s proposals. He presented such position and defended it with determination in the Eurogroup on Tuesday evening discussions which have resumed this afternoon at 5pm. Overall the Italian position highlights the need for a wide ranging package of measures that includes the SURE proposals for employment (100 bln), the strengthening of BEI for companies (200 bln) and a substantial Fund to Relaunch the EU Economy (1500-1600 bln) funded by common bonds that will start as soon as possible.
We are aware that it is not easy. And I do not understand those who after only two hours since the beginning of the negotiations, learning about the additional time required, complained that “Europe is useless”. Perhaps these people have never conducted a negotiation in their lives. It is normal and physiological that a negotiation of such importance, between 27 different governments and being conducted remotely, takes time. The important thing is that it progresses and that we can manage to rebuild a consensus around a shared and incisive solution.
And, just to clarify something that not many seem to have understood in Italy: the issue of the negotiation is not the ESM (which, by the way, has existed for eight years). The objective is to build a package of measures that can adequately cover the different needs that countries will face. Some countries and allies have declare that they would be in favour of using ESM if it had “lighter” measures. Others, like Italy, have not. But it is not mandatory to use it, particularly if other instruments and more incisive measures are put in place. So the issue is not the ESM but rather what tools will we manage to create and add to the “package” to make it stronger. We will see how powerful such measures will be at the end of the negotiation.