Bonino: The euro is not the problem, governance is

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The eurozone crisis can be traced more to political than economic and financial causes, Emma Bonino, vice president of the Italian Senate and a former European Commissioner told EURACTIV Italia. She says it is mostly a problem of governance.

The EU Summit this week (28-29 June) is not a meeting as many others: “It’s a key date for the EU, almost a point of no return,” she said, reasserting the need for a United States of Europe.

She spoke on the margin of a conference organised by European Movement Italy, ahead of the Rome mini-summit on 22 June.

Bonino shares the analysis given by Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti, who said that the 10 days leading to this week’s summit “are crucial for Europe.”

“Europe's worsening debt crisis helped the word federalism and federalist not to be taboo concepts anymore,” as they were a decade ago, she said, when “the success of the euro anaesthetised the federalist feeling all over Europe.”

During the European Movement conference, Italian Minister for European Affairs Enzo Moavero and Italian industrial association leader Giorgio Squinzi supported the need for deeper political integration to save Europe from the crisis.

Closing the meeting, Romano Prodi, the former Italian prime minister and European Commission president, said the lack of sovereignty “has a deep political meaning”.

The biggest challenge for Europe is pushing forward a political union: “Europe has to become a big dog as [are] China and the USA,” only as such the EU will be able to face global economic challenges. “To save themselves European countries have to be united. Not even Germany, Europe’s strongest economy, can make it on its own”.

Italian, French, German and British employers underlined the need for financial solutions – such as the fiscal compact, eurobonds and a stronger role of the ECB – to rescue Europe.

Most policymakers concurred that to build a federal Europe and solve the sovereignty dilemma, European choices should be trusted by citizens.

Referring to Italy’s own sovereign debt crisis, Bonino admitted that the country first denied the crisis, then it minimised it, then pretended not to be touched by rough waters and finally found itself deep into trouble.

“Monti is a benign incident,” Bonino said, explaining that the Italian prime minister, who is a technocrat, is now paralysed by politics.

“I had predicted that in January we would find ourselves in a parliamentary Vietnam: I have miscalculated the timing, but now we are deep in it. Monti is not King Kong and all his proposals are not infallible,” she added, stressing that his growth focuses too much on heavy infrastructure rather than on digital innovation.

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