Financial Times columnist says Monti not right for Italy

Premier denounced as ineffective

Financial Times columnist says Monti not right for Italy

Rome, January 21 - His critics and political opponents seized Monday on an editorial in Britain's respected Financial Times newspaper that said outgoing Premier Mario Monti should not return to the post. The editorial published Monday said that Monti, who was appointed 14 months ago to head a technocratic government, failed to make the promised reforms and instead only raised taxes. "His narrative has been that he saved Italy from the brink, or rather from Silvio Berlusconi, his predecessor," wrote columnist Wolfgang Munchau. "A fall in bond yields has played into this narrative, but most Italians know they owe this to another Mario – Draghi, president of the European Central Bank". Such criticisms were music to the ears of Monti's many opponents in the general elections slated for February 24 and February 25. "What the Italians are understanding is that the right man to guide the country is Pier Luigi Bersani," leader of the center-left Democratic Party, said the party's House vice-president Marina Sereni. The column makes clear that although Italians have suffered "a series of measures (requiring) blood, sweat and tears," under Monti with Germany's encouragement, the country is not better off, added Renato Brunetta, of the People of Freedom (PdL) party established by ex-premier Berlusconi. Responding to the article, Monti said he expected the criticism from Munchau, "a columnist who has had a long-running feud with (German Chancellor Angela) Merkel" and the eurozone.

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