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Edward Hugh is only able to update this blog from time to time, but he does run a lively Twitter account with plenty of Italy related comment. He also maintains a collection of constantly updated Italy economy charts together with short text updates on a Storify dedicated page Italy - Lost in Stagnation?

Monday, June 06, 2005

Maroni Hits Back

Roberto Maroni is back in the Italian press again today, and with another interview. This interview is in ilResto del Carlino. (Interestingly enough they are running an online poll, and the result was running at 51.7% euro to 48.3% lira). Unfortunately the interview is in Italian. I have translated a few extracts under the fold. The big issue that he draws attention to (and I was flagging this in an earlier post) is the apparent desire of Berlusconi not to commit himself if he can help it.

Essentially Berlusconi has remained silent. No 'the euro is a unique success story' here. I imagine he just couldn't say this in Italy with the electoral base he has (I may of course have to eat my words). To date the only response has come - on his behalf one has to imagine - from Gianfranco Fini, Italy's Prime Minister and foreign minister, who said Maroni's proposal was made 'in a personal capacity' and did not reflect the opinion of the government. Fini said he did not share Maroni's opinion, 'but above all it is certainly not shared by Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi'.

Maroni's response: that Fini is not a credible 'spokesperson' for Berlusconi. According to Maroni the only opinion that Berlusconi has expressed is that a return to the lira is not possible, not that he wouldn't consider it desireable. The main opinion Berlusconi seems to be expressing is a defence of Italian president Ciampi, who has been attacked by Maroni.

Maroni: Berlusconi ha preso posizione su un presunto attacco a Ciampi che non ha nulla a che vedere con l'euro
Berlusconi has taken a position against a supposed attack on Ciampi, a matter which has nothing to do with the euro.

Interviewer: E stato Fini a dire che il premier ? contrario all ipotesi-lira.
Fini has said that the premier is contrary to the lira hypothesis.

Maroni: Non mi risulta che Fini faccia il portavoce di Berlusconi. E comunque non ? vero. Non ho bisogno degli interpreti per sapere cosa pensi. L'ho sentito questa mattina.
I don't believe that Fini is acting as a spokesperson for Berlusconi. So I don't think it's true. It isn't necessary to go to an interpreter to find out what he is thinking. I heard it (from Berlusconi himself) this morning.

Interviewer: Che cosa le ha detto?
What did he say?

Maroni: Era preoccupato per le reazioni sulla vicenda Ciampi, non per l?euro. Ha detto che secondo lui il ritorno alla lira non si pu? fare, ma non ? che ha aggiunto: perch? lo fate, state sbagliando.
He was worried about the reactions over Ciampi, not about the euro. He said that in his opinion a return to the lira wasn't possible, but he didn't add, if we did it, it would be a mistake.

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