Professor Monti is a smart, prepared, well educated and charming Italian man. Nothing in comparison with what Italians have had to suffer with Berlusconi for the past 17 years. He is one of the best economic brains of Europe and has adopted a very appreciated low profile in running the country. So low that he announced to Italians that, as a personal decision, he is renouncing his salary as Prime Minister and Minister for the Economy.
Being so smart, he is also very aware that his government is a technical one and has to look for the approval of the parliament in order to survive. And, as we know, the Italian parliament is not an easy entity with which to deal. In recent days, in order to try to save Italy from default, Professor Monti has tried to assure Italians with three key words: recovery, equity and growth.
We had hoped that "equity" would be kept in first place in his financial mesaures contained in the austerity package, but as it has been presented, people have noticed that equity has been left far behind. It is true, all categories of Italians are effected by these measures. The country is so destroyed after Berlusconi that we are all aware that we have lived beyond our means and that something has to be changed.
But, excuse me Professor, some distinguo would not hurt. If I have a pension of 1.000 euros a month, or if I have 5.000 euros a month makes a big difference. Not to mention the new law that reintroduces the tax on properties: all houses, no matter if you own 1 or 50, will be taxed.
Correct, but what about the Vatican that owns the most valuable properties in this country? Does Professor Monti know that religiouse buildings, convents, institutes, residences are very often being transformed into hotels? That religious orders run regular commercial activities related to tourism and that the revenues of religious tourism are a big part of the Vatican State GDP? And what about the costs of the political system in a country that is facing the worst financial crisis since the second world war?
The austerity package makes mention only of the life annuity of parlamentarians (millions of euros every year) which will be a subject for discussion in the next legislature. The number of the councillors at the provincial government level will decrease but not one word about the number of parlamentarians (the second highest in Europe after UK, 951 in Italy, 1477 in UK), or the cost of their salaries and benefits. We know, Professor Monti, that your job is really difficult and we understand that you have to find a decent compromise in order to obtain the parliament vote of confidence. And we also know that the time has expired for Italy if we don't want to face further recession. But please, for the future of this country, try to be more fair and give us a stronger sign of social justice.