This site uses technical, analytics and third-party cookies.
By continuing to browse, you accept the use of cookies.

Preferences cookies

Tajani urges the ECB to lower interest rates (Nazione – Carlino – Giorno)

Interview with the Deputy Prime Minister from Forza Italia « It is the first item on the European Agenda, inflation is falling. There is agreement and good harmony with France».

Deputy Prime Minister Tajani «Now it is time for the ECB to lower interest rates». The leader of Forza Italia: with inflation down by 10 points per year, tightening can be eased. «Stability Pact and ESM? Everything is holding up, but we are in the right direction».

France, too – as the French government told your newspaper, is following this direction.

ROME «The priority now is to reduce interest rates. The ECB can no longer prevaricate: a cut is needed to avoid a tailspin and prevent the European economy from spiralling out of control and, on the contrary, to restore momentum to investment and consumption by companies and households». The Foreign Minister and leader of Forza Italia, Antonio Tajani, bluntly indicates the first point of an EU agenda which – along with an easing of ECB’s monetary policy – must see «a joint and common vision of European economic policy, including the new Stability Pact, the ESM, the Banking Union, as well as tax and fiscal harmonisation, because a comprehensive logic –  and not  a piecemeal one – is needed.»

Let us start with interest rates: why should we cut them now?

«I think that it is time for the ECB to lower them as soon as possible. That would be a significant message in favour of the real economy, households and companies. Inflation is going down: in Italy by more than 10 points in a year. The same holds true for other European countries. The stock markets are performing well: I am thinking specifically of the Milan Stock Exchange. The spread is falling and stable. All the conditions are in place to reverse course and there are no longer excuses for not doing so (since I was against rises from the beginning)».

What benefits can we expect at that juncture?

«It is clear that an easing of ECB’s monetary tightening enables banks to reduce, in turn, their lending and mortgage interest rates. It is no coincidence that the President of the Italian Banking Association (ABI), Antonio Patuelli, has repeatedly pointed out that it is appropriate to reduce rates as soon as possible, because access to credit is fundamental».

Interest rates, however, are one aspect of what you call the “European economic policy package”.

“Of course. An overall macroeconomic strategy needs to be defined at European level to support the many sectors of the European economy. All levers and all the institutions with a common approach need to be encompassed into this vision: Stability Pact, ESM, Banking Union, tax and fiscal harmonisation. If you are a pro-European, as I am, then you need a package of choices, not individual decisions that suit one State and not others. Otherwise we run the risk that Europe will no longer even be an “economic giant and a political dwarf”, but just a dwarf».

Are we at the final stage for the reform of the Stability Pact?

«We are going in the right direction by trying to turn the Stability Pact into the Growth and Stability Pact. The key issue for us is growth. If the work that Minister Giorgetti is doing – supported by the government – to have a less rigid timeframe for debt reduction, and more flexible margins for the deficit, with the exclusion of the Green Deal expenses and those related to the war in Ukraine, is successful, then I believe the new agreement could be reached soon. Furthermore France, too – as Minister Boone said to your newspaper, is in line with our stances».

Minister Laurence Boone also argued: “We cannot move forward in Europe without Italy on board”.

«I’m pleased, of course. After all, it is evident by facts».

Let us focus on the ESM: on this issue, within the government majority, your position in favour is different from the one of Lega and Fratelli d’Italia (FdI).

«Our position has always been different. We were in favour of the use of the ESM for health purposes at the time and we are still in favour of it today. But we have always been perplexed and critical of the Regulation of the Mechanism in the name of a pro-European vision, because we do not want the management of the ESM to be taken away from the European Parliament’s political control – as is currently envisaged. The ECB, too, has to come to terms with Parliament, and it is not clear why the Mechanism should not. All the more so that for us it must be part of the overall European macroeconomic strategy and not be something separate».

Therefore, green light for the ESM in an overall framework. But are your allies equally willing to say yes?

« Parliament will decide. There are no vetoes by Forza Italia. What must be clear, however  – as I also had the opportunity to say to the German Finance Minister – is that we cannot adopt the ESM because it is convenient for some countries, such as Germany for its banks, and stop – for example – the Banking Union or even tax and fiscal harmonisation, because it is equally not right and fair that there are tax havens within the Union. Therefore, the ESM is fine, but other things come first, which are even more relevant for me, such as those I mentioned».

One last thing: Mario Draghi’s name has come up for future European posts. It seemed that you wanted to hold back his candidacy. Is that so?

«Mario Draghi is a person I greatly respect and can play any role. I said myself that he could do everything. But let us not urge him to do something and let us not use his name for other purposes. You cannot throw around ideas that are not there, because I am not even aware that there is a French proposal. Therefore, no preclusions, but there are rules that must be followed. There are the Treaties. I am referring to the fact that Commissioners are appointed by the government of each State, and that the President must be chosen by the Council taking the election results into account. As you can easily imagine, I really believe that the election result will confirm all the possibilities for a candidate from the EPP».

You might also be interested in..