Mobile Version
Free Internet Press
  Uncensored News For Real People

FIP Year In Review

FIP Month in Review

FIP Archive Search

Multiple Discoveries from NASA's New Horizons Pluto Mission

R.I.P. William 'Bill' Herbert Kelder - Intellpuke

Gamers Donate 37,500 Pounds Of Food To Needy

Statement From The Whitehouse Regarding The Government Shutdown

An Open Response To 'Organizing for Action'

Bayou Corne: The Biggest Ongoing Disaster In The U.S. You Have Not Heard Of

Boston Mayor Hopes Feds 'Throw the Book' at Marathon Bombing Suspect

Boston Police Closing In On Suspects

2 Explosions At Boston Marathon. 2 Dead, Many Injured.

The Press vs Citizens Rights and Privacy - Act 3

CBS News - Year In Review 2012 - 366 Days: 2012 In Review

The Guardian - 2012 In Review: An Interactive Guide To The Year That Was

TruTV - The Biggest Conspiracy Theories of 2012

Colbert Nation: 2012: A Look Back

FIP Year In Review(s?)

Happy Holidays

Welcome To A New Era!

An Open Letter To United Health Care, Medcom, And The Medical Insurance Industry In General

Whitehouse Petition To Remove "Under God" and "In God" From Currency And The Pledge.

December 21, 2012

If Hillary Clinton Ran For President, She Would Probably Be The Best-prepared Candidate In American History

CIA Director David Petraeus Resigns After FBI Investigation Uncovers Affair With High-Profile Journalist

FIP Format Update

Thank you for voting.

Live Election Results

FIP In Hiatus

U.S.-Afghan Military Operations Suspended After Attacks

Iran Nuclear Chief Says IAEA Might Be Infiltrated By 'Terrorists And Saboteurs'

Romney Stands By Gaffe

'Attack On Democracy' - Monti Comments Enrage German Politicians
2012-08-07 16:25:16 (212 weeks ago)
Posted By: Intellpuke

With his appeal in a Spiegel interview for national leaders to be given greater independence from parliaments in euro bailout decisions, Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti has sparked intense anger in Germany. Members of both Chancellor Angela Merkel's government and the opposition have labelled Monti's demands "undemocratic."

Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti is concerned that the euro zone is inflicting serious damage on Europe. In an interview with Spiegel published on Monday, he said: "The tensions that have accompanied the euro zone in recent years are already leading to a psychological dissolution of Europe." The 68-year-old warned that if the euro were allowed to become a factor in Europe drifting apart, "then all the foundations of the European Project will be destroyed."

One statement in his interview in particular has sparked a contentious debate. Monti said that European leaders needed to defend their freedom to act against parliaments. "If governments allow themselves to be entirely bound to the decisions of their parliament, without protecting their own freedom to act, a break up of Europe would be a more probable outcome than deeper integration."

Since taking office in Italy in November, Monti has led a cabinet of technocrats that has the support of a broad majority in parliament. Nevertheless, when it comes to economic reforms, austerity measures and the euro bailout, Monti often struggles to patch together a majority ahead of key votes. His comments also appear to be directed at Germany, where Chancellor Angela Merkel requires parliamentary approval for most of her major bailout policies.

In Berlin, a number of politicians have spoken out against Monti's comments. "The acceptance of the euro and its rescue is strengthened through national parliaments and not weakened," Joachim Poss, deputy floor leader for the center-left Social Democratic Party, told the Rheinische Post newspaper. The politician said it appeared that the image of parliament in Italy had suffered during the "unspeakable Berlusconi years."

(story continues below)

Meanwhile, Frank Schäffler, a prominent euro-skeptic with the business-friendly Free Democratic Party, the junior partner in Merkel's coalition government, said any possible collapse of the European Union would be a product of too little democracy and rule of law rather than too much. His party colleague, FDP floor leader Rainer Brüderle, said when implementing the necessary reforms, people needed to "take care that Europe retains sufficient democratic legitimization."

'We Need Strengthening, Not Weakening Of European Democracy'

Criticism of Monti erupted over the weekend after Spiegel pre-released quotes from the interview. Michael Grosse-Brömer a senior official with Merkel's Christian Democratic Union said that while a government's ability to act is of decisive importance, "that doesn't in any way justify an attempt to limit the parliamentary controls that are necessary in a democracy."

German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle, also of the FDP, joined the debate as well, saying that when it comes to European issues, "it is beyond discussion. We need a strengthening, not a weakening of democratic legitimation in Europe."

The most outspoken criticism came from politicians with the Christian Social Union (CSU), the Bavarian sister party to Merkel's conservatives, with a leading official calling Monti's words an "attack against democracy." "The greed for German taxpayer money is blossoming in undemocratic ways with Mr. Monti," said party General Secretary Alexander Dobrindt. "Mr. Monti apparently needs a clear announcement that we Germans will not be prepared to eliminate democracy in order to finance Italian debts."

In his interview with Spiegel, Monti warned of the possible break up of Europe and called for euro-zone governments to have greater independence from parliament in decision-making. Of course governments needed to orient themselves based on parliament's decisions, he said. "But every government also has the duty to educate parliament," said Monti.

During the past week, Monti moved numerous times to distance himself from Germany's current position in the euro bailout. Most recently, he called for a banking license to be issued to the long-term euro rescue fund, the European Stability Mechanism (ESM) -- a move Berlin has staunchly opposed. In his Spiegel interview, the Italian leader greeted efforts by the ECB to address "severe malfunctioning" in the government bond market. He said the problems "have to be solved quickly now so that there's no further uncertainty about the euro zone's ability to overcome the crisis."

Criticism Of Merkel

In recent days, negative sentiment against Germany and Chancellor Merkel has been growing in Italy. Last week, the Italian daily Il Giornale published a story with the headline "Quarto Reich," or "Fourth Reich" on its front page. It featured an image of Merkel raising her right arm with the caption "Heil Angela." The paper is part of Silvio Berlusconi's publishing empire and the headline was aimed at expressing dissatisfaction over Merkel's objections to a banking license for the ESM. Nevertheless, it reflects the increasingly shrill tenor of the political debate in Europe over the euro crisis and it mirrors similar coverage of the chancellor in the Greek media.

Even at home in Germany, some are criticizing Merkel's positions, including Baden-Württemberg Governor Winfried Kretschmann of the Green Party. "She has a tough task and I don't want to come across as a know-it-all," he told the tabloid Bild newspaper. "But Ms. Merkel needs to emphasize the global context of individual decisions more clearly. I was never a huge fan of former Chancellor Helmut Kohl, but he did have a clear political vision for Europe … I miss that clarity today."

Meanwhile, the chancellor of neighboring Austria, Werner Faymann, has said he believes Merkel will shift her policies. In an interview with the Vienna daily Kurier, Faymann said he believed that Merkel would abandon her opposition to providing the ESM with a banking license, which would essentially give it unlimited borrowing capacity with the European Central Bank, if it became clear that was the only way to save the euro. "I anticipate that when it is necessary for the protection of the euro, that the German chancellor will go along with the next step." When a reporter at the newspaper reminded Faymann that Merkel opposed the banking license, the Austrian chancellor replied: "We've already had the experience that the German chancellor has changed her mind during the course of a political debate -- always to protect the euro."

Intellpuke: This article is a compilation of reporting by Spiegel journalists and various news agencies; you can read it in context here:

Email To A Friend
Email this story to a friend:
Your Name:
Their Email:
Readers Comments
Add your own comment.
(Anonymous commenting now enabled.)

Creative Commons License
Free Internet Press is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 United States License. You may reuse or distribute original works on this site, with attribution per the above license.

Any mirrored or quoted materials may be copyright their respective authors, publications, or outlets, as shown on their publication, indicated by the link in the news story. Such works are used under the fair use doctrine of United States copyright law. Should any materials be found overused or objectionable to the copyright holder, notification should be sent to, and the work will be removed and replaced with such notification.

Please email with any questions.

Our Privacy Policy can be viewed at

XML/RSS/RDF Newsfeed Syndication XML/RSS/RDF Newsfeed Syndication:

XML/RSS/RDF Newsfeed Syndication XML News Sitemap