Van Rompuy noted in particular the impressive reforms which had been carried out by the government of Prime Minister Monti, to bring Italy back where it belongs: in the heart of Europe.
"Italy is turning its economy around: breaking monopolies, cutting red tape, fighting against vested interests and working hard to create jobs. This work has to be done, euro or no euro, EU or no EU. It's a huge long-term and collective effort; which asks sacrifices today and will secure growth and create jobs tomorrow. It is also continuing the fiscal consolidation started earlier. It is in the interest of Italy, it is in the interest of Europe: there is no contradiction.
Looking at what has already been achieved, looking at the determination of the Italian people to attack each problem, one by one, I am confident the efforts will be met with success -- knowing they must be pursued relentlessly."
President Van Rompuy concluded his statement with a more political point on the state of European integration. "This project, to which Italy has contributed so much ever since our founding Treaty of Rome, remains today, even in the middle of financial turbulence and social uncertainty – as President Napolitano reminded us this morning – the light-house, il faro, for all of us! That is why I welcome the suggestion to have a discussion on the future of the European idea. I had originally scheduled this for late 2014 but the current situation invites us to accelerate this common reflection.
Of course there are tensions and constraints, there is opposition and critique... And yet a gigantic collective effort is
taking place, involving all euro countries, all EU institutions, all citizens, to muster the political will, the parliamentary majorities, the means and money, to help each other and to come out of this crisis together. It is de facto solidarity of an unprecedented magnitude.
Mario Monti and I agree that overcoming the crisis requires ambition, it requires patience and a shared understanding that reforms take time, and it requires fairness. And if all leaders and institutions across Europe work together – in finding the solutions and in bringing our citizens along, I am confident we will get there."
© European Council
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