One of Italy's most prominent pro-Europeans said
Thursday that his country might have been better off staying out of
the eurozone, describing the single currency bloc as "a mess.", dpa reported.
Two-times prime minister Giuliano Amato said it was now too late
to leave the project, adding that Italy should work with partners on
fixing fundamental shortcomings in the eurozone.
Referring to Eurosceptics who argue that Italy would be in a
better position if it still had control over its monetary policy,
Amato said: "Perhaps they are right, given the mess that we have made
on the set up" of the euro.
He was speaking at East Forum, an EU affairs conference in Rome.
Italy is suffering from a record-length recession, with output
25-per-cent down from its 2007 peak and youth unemployment close to
40 per cent. The slump was aggravated by austerity measures required
by strict eurozone rules on budget discipline.
"We went into this business of the single currency, and we cannot
go back on it," Amato said, arguing that leaving the euro would
create "enormous problems" for Italy.
The 75-year-old politician is of the centre-left Democratic Party.
He was premier in 1992-93 and 2000-01, served as minister when his
country joined the euro in 1999, and was vice-president of the panel
that drew up the ill-fated EU constitution in the 2000s.
In April, Amato was in the running to become prime minister for a
third time, but in the end Italian President Giorgio Napolitano gave
the job of leading a fragile grand coalition government to Enrico