Matio Monti gets to work with a cabinet of the unelected

 

Milan

Italy will embark on a controversial 18-month gamble today to improve its finances and rescue the euro by handing control to an administration of unelected technocrats with strong links to Brussels and international finance.

The country's parliament is expected to vote in the government of Mario Monti, a former EU competition commissioner, together with his cabinet which, it was revealed yesterday, contains not a single elected politician.

After being asked to form a government by President Giorgio Napolitano, following the collapse of Silvio Berlusconi's discredited centre-right administration, it was believed Mr Monti, a 68-year-old economist, might recruit some established politicians as ministers. However, when asked yesterday why his cabinet contained no parliamentary figures, Mr Monti said his talks with party leaders suggested "the non-presence of politicians in the government would help it".

"This government with ties to banks, to business, to the Vatican, to private universities – to the usual names – is the opposite of what this country needs," said Paolo Ferrero, leader of the far-left Rifondazione Comunista party. But Roberto D'Alimonte, political science professor at Rome's LUISS University, approved the cabinet, whose members he described as "high-calibre, highly respected and independent".

Much of the Italian public appeared to accept that exceptional measures were necessary, and the mainstream political parties tacitly admitted they would not be able to carry the required reforms through parliament. A poll conducted by IPR Marketing showed that 53 per cent of Italians back the new administration.

In Greece, a new coalition government easily won a confidence vote in parliament, backing a pledge by the Prime Minister, Lucas Papademos, to speed up long-term reforms and secure a massive new bailout deal involving banks and rescue creditors.

Meanwhile, the European Central Bank stepped up purchases of Italian bonds in an effort to calm investors. But the markets remained unconvinced and yields on 10-year government bonds edged back above 7 per cent yesterday, suggesting growing concerns that the Monti government would default on its debt repayments.

Concerns over the degree of EU influence on Italy's internal affairs may have been heightened by remarks from the German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, who said she hoped Mr Monti would "implement Italy's pledges to tackle its debt and restore market confidence". Many pundits, though, felt that a Monti-led administration offered Italy its best chance of doing just that.

"We need an Italy that's for economic growth, that's against corruption and the mafia, and reintroduces meritocracy," said Franco Panvoncello, a professor of politics at John Cabot University in Rome.

"A lot of what Monti plans to introduce will hurt. But [his government] will combine the cuts with things like a wealth tax to make Italy a fairer place."

Meet the new bosses: Key figures in Mario Monti's government

Mario Monti

The new PM will also take on the pivotal economics and finance portfolio. A distinguished free-market economist, adviser to Goldman Sachs and former European Competition Commissioner, Mr Monti is also president of Milan's Bocconi university.

Giulio Terzi di Sant'Agata

Mr Terzi di Sant'Agata, the new Foreign Minister, has been Italy's ambassador to Washington since October 2009. The 65-year old is an experienced diplomat with a low public profile and no clear political leanings, who began his career in the foreign ministry.

Anna Maria Cancellieri

The new Interior Minister has a reputation for championing women's issues. Ms Cancellieri ran Bologna as special administrator in 2010, after the City's mayor quit in a corruption scandal. She subsquently and resisted pressure to run for mayor

Corrado Passera

The head of Italy's second biggest bank Intesa Sanpaolo, Mr Passera, 56, is the new Industry and Infrastructure Minister. He is said to have centre-left political leanings and was rumoured to have been considered for a cabinet position in Romano Prodi's 2006 government.

To do: Monti's tasks

Francesco Giavazzi, professor of economics at Bocconi University where Mario Monti is president, says the new Italian leader faces five key challenges:

 

l. Reform the labour laws that currently provide only for miserable short-term contracts or jobs for life, but little in between

 

2. Reintroduce property tax, which was abolished by the former prime minister, Silvio Berlusconi

 

3. Speed the torturously slow legal system; with trials taking an average of six years, many businesses go under while awaiting disputed payments

 

4. Abolish the undeserved privileges of Italy's politicians – national or local – "or else the country might explode". Do regional representatives really deserve a pension for life after serving only one term in office? Do 72,000 public officials really need to have chauffeurs?

 

5. Start selling off state assets to make inroads in the debt mountain, and more importantly, boost long-term productivity.

PROMOTED VIDEO
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Sport
Wembley Stadium
footballNews follows deal with Germany
Arts and Entertainment
A spell in the sun: Emma Stone and Colin Firth star in ‘Magic in the Moonlight’
filmReview: Magic In The Moonlight
Voices
voicesApple continually kill off smaller app developers, and that's no good for anyone
Sport
A 'Sir Alex Feguson' tattoo
football

Arts and Entertainment
Ben Whishaw is replacing Colin Firth as the voice of Paddington Bear
tv

Thriller is set in the secret world of British espionage

Life and Style
life

News
ScienceGallery: Otherwise known as 'the best damn photos of space you'll see till 2015'
Life and Style
fashion

Bomber jacket worn by Mary Berry sells out within an hour

Life and Style
tech
Sport
Andros Townsend is challenged by Vladimir Volkov
football
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Senior Financial Services Associate - City

Highly Competitive Package: Austen Lloyd: CITY - FINANCIAL SERVICES - Senior...

Residential Property

Very Competitive: Austen Lloyd: Residential Conveyancer - Wiltshire We have a...

Y5 Teacher

£90 - £120 per day: Randstad Education Leicester: Long term position for a KS2...

Graduate BI Consultant (Business Intelligence) - London

£24000 - £30000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Graduate BI Consultant (B...

Day In a Page

Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week