Letter: What Germany is costing Europe

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Sir: It becomes a little galling that Italy should once again be portrayed as the potential spendthrift of the European Community (William Rees-Mogg; 'A French 'no' would be good news for Mr Major', 31 August). Let there be no doubt that Italy has no intention of 'writing cheques on the German account'.

The government of Giuliano Amato has, in domestic political terms, done more than any other in Europe to bite on the economic bullet to cut spending, raise taxes and take the pain of monetary and economic convergence. If Maastricht survives (and the presumption should remain that the French will come to their senses), Lord Rees-Mogg should have no doubt that Italy will achieve the Herculean task of satisfying the criteria for joining the single currency.

Moreover, with the German government's refusal to raise taxes, the ridiculous 1:1 conversion of the Ostmark to the Deutschmark, and the subsequent interest rate regime that the Bundesbank has imposed on all Europe to contain this economic folly, it is thus Germany that has merrily written cheques on all of our accounts to pay for reunification.

It is one thing that we should resign ourselves to becoming the satrapies of a mighty Germany - quite another that Europe, particularly Italy, should have to pay for the privilege.

I am, Sir,

Yours etc


London, W9

1 September