Ahead of a key eurozone meeting in Poland today (16 September), Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini said Rome was ready to relinquish “all the sovereignty necessary to create a genuine European central government” and draw a line under the euro zone’s debt crisis.
In a rare federalist outing, Frattini, a former European commissioner, may have given an indication of how serious the eurozone debt crisis is perceived in Rome.
“Different countries have different views on European federalism, but Italy is ready to give up all the sovereignty necessary to create a genuine European central government,” Frattini told the Süddeutsche Zeitung on Wednesday (14 September).
“We must work seriously towards the formation of a genuine European economic government. It is no longer sufficient to lead Europe by coming together around a table at intergovernmental level,” he said, referring to the numerous EU emergency summits that have been called since the debt crisis erupted.
Poland’s Finance Minister Jacek Rostowski warned last week that a contagion of the debt crisis to Italy would “destroy the euro zone,” calling on European leaders to take bold steps to resolve the crisis. Rotoswski said last month he believed the euro zone was moving towards a fiscal union.
A growing chorus of politicians – including from the ranks of the UK Conservatives – have called on eurozone leaders to take bold steps towards greater economic and fiscal union as a way out of the debt crisis.
UK Finance Minister George Osborne said on Tuesday that members of the single currency should pursue the “remorseless logic” of monetary union with fiscal union.
Frattini admitted that such far-reaching changes would require modifying the European treaties, at least “certain chapters of it,” something that German Chancellor Angela Merkel and her finance minister, Wolfgang Schäuble, have already acknowledged.
The Italian foreign minister said political courage was needed to adopt eurozone reforms that may prove unpopular with voters.
“Even if the chancellor loses a few votes in local elections, she is firmly standing by Europe’s side. And she’s right,” Frattini said.