August 7th, 2012
03:49 AM GMT
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London (CNN) – Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti has lit a fuse that has sparked outrage in Germany and exposed the frayed wires that are holding Europe together.

In an interview with Germany’s Der Spiegel, Monti was quoted as saying: "The tensions that have accompanied the eurozone in the past years are already showing signs of a psychological dissolution of Europe."

He added that governments have to "educate" their parliaments as they try to reach agreement on the eurozone's future.

"If governments allow themselves to be entirely bound to the decisions of their parliament, without protecting their own freedom to act, a break up of Europe would be a more probable outcome than deeper integration."
German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle, while not directly addressing Monti, said "arguments are taking on a very dangerous tone." In his words, "we must take care not to talk Europe down.” Meanwhile, German members of parliament on both sides condemned his comments as “undemocratic.”

Did Mario Monti speak a truth that dare not say its name? Do leaders need to be less beholden to parliaments if the 17-nation bloc can move as one?

Have your say. Leave a comment below.

soundoff (55 Responses)
  1. Zsolt

    Monti is right.
    The problem with politicians that they say things freely but when it comes to practical implementation they do not even go close to what they said.
    We keep talking about "global world", "mutual responsibility" but we continue acting in a subjective, fragmented, disconnected, self-calculated fashion.
    We talk about deeper integration but get a fright as soon as somebody suggests practical actions leading to deeper integration.
    Europe and the whole world in fact has no chance of solving the deepening crisis unless we all rise above individual, national level thinking and start planning and acting globally, mutually as the conditions of our global, interconnected and totally interdependent human network demand today.

    August 7, 2012 at 4:11 am |
  2. Leo

    I agree with Zsolt and because of that and history you can say that the way the economy is right now is gear towards disaster, the greed and corruption of a few has turn our entire society into a complete disaster, is biblical wether you believe it or not things are turning out the way have been written for 100´s of years...

    August 7, 2012 at 5:02 am |
  3. Nutti

    Greed and corruption of a few who? Baseless accusation. It's the common people that are running the world. Those who go to work everyday and consume. They are running the companies, not the elite who may own these companies. Those same people are spending the money and taking debt. Governments just act for their people, not themselves. The elite are too few to have meaningful effect except in the US. Common people generate the GDP and they are the ones who need the debt to rise their level of living standards. To do something, act yourself and lower your quality of life. Don't go blaming others and your leaders. It's you who's to blame, everyone's greed. You think Italians took two trillion debt for their leaders? Ha ha.

    August 7, 2012 at 6:11 am |
  4. Sophos

    Let it fall....and turn into something else.

    August 7, 2012 at 6:11 am |
  5. robert

    So countries that have failed to managed their economies would be better off on their own without any oversight. What europe needs is more centralized control over banking and national budgets. It's like the US. The failure was caused by a lack of oversight. Even less oversight is not going to solve the problem.

    August 7, 2012 at 6:24 am |
  6. Evolution

    Monti is right. The national parliaments are too arrogant towards a strong united Europe. If leaders in US states cared more about their own state and put the US as a great secondary objective that would certainly hurt the US. Especially considering the EU doesn`t yet have powers to be the central force of direction.

    The power of the EU has risen over the last decades but it`s still decades from a UK or US type of centralized power. They need to continue on this path and solve the problems with the Euro step by step. Just like the removal of clowns like Berlusconi. Just like the forcing of Greece to cut budgets and reform. Step by step they can pull through if they stand united.

    The US entered a giant civil war a hundred years after it was founded. Some financial troubles are nothing compared to that. Solve the problems, reform and move on.

    August 7, 2012 at 6:33 am |
  7. RS

    CNN keeps showing these delicious chocolate caramel-filled euros and it is making me hungry!!!

    August 7, 2012 at 6:37 am |
  8. Brian

    From the Great Dictator, "Demokratie ist stank...Freiheit ist Stank....mein Hering." But seriously, I would rather have a break up of the Euro and the following depression 10 times over before I would live in a Euro-Dictatorship. Parliaments for all of their flaws are the last link between governments and the will of the people. Take that away, and the people will have nothing left other than to overthrow everything and start over, e.g. Syria.

    August 7, 2012 at 6:44 am |
  9. Nobody

    I don't get it. How come crediting a person involves, as a rule, a collateral but crediting a country doesn't?
    Greece wants a loan? No problem. Just let them put up a collateral, say, some valuable real estate. Solves the problem with defaults and bad debts.
    Same with everybody. USA wants to borrow more money from other countries or whoever. Hey, how about lake Michigan or the Central Park in NY for a collateral? In this case, if they default on the debt you end up owning the Central Park.

    August 7, 2012 at 6:48 am |
  10. Mathew

    Monti is bang on target
    I believe, the current EU which is a complex patch up of 17 nations glued togeather by couple of big brothers for their own interests (take the case of greece bail out spear headed by Germany). This may work from a political standpoint but doesnot cover the hopes & aspirations of the people in these nations. Take Greece, Spain, Portugal, France, the whole idea of creating an union and its percieved advantages (if there is any) have not yet precipitated down to the common man. People in Germany might feel that they have been taken for a ride by bailing out few nations who spend more than what they had, and guys who are at the recieving end feels that they are being asked what to do or what not to do by few big brothers, for no fault of theirs.
    If and when a collective emotional outburst happens in these nations, that would be the sucker punch, only in this case as Monti suggested, a punch is for sure, its only a matter of when and whether it would be a knock out.

    August 7, 2012 at 7:56 am |
  11. Alexander

    We are not one, like the USA, and we don't want to be. We have different cultures, different languages, different food and habits, and most of us don't want to change that for the sake of a coin. We have elected the politicians, and they know we will elect others if they make too much decisions we don't like. That's called democracy, for all .. above who don't understand.

    August 7, 2012 at 8:11 am |
  12. Hitchhiker's Guide to EU

    Mr Monti is the only leader left in Europe. Unfortunately his country will sooner or later need the help of the Mrs Merkel. Europe is doomed unless if a very brave move is made by the Germans. This is unlikely as they enter election period as well. The Europe dream appears to be over.

    August 7, 2012 at 8:18 am |
  13. Ramil

    As a Canadian living in Europe for a few years now I find it somewhat ironic that all the EU countries do find it difficult to have some cohesion for a common goal either in economic or parliamentary initiatives. Yet when these same people immigrate to a single country (i.e. USA or Canada) they have no problems adapting to the economic and government system of those countries contributing to best interest of those communities.

    August 7, 2012 at 8:24 am |
  14. Joseph Aquilina

    Monti is right!! We all know it, politicians NEVER DO WHAT IS GOOD FOR THEIR COUNTRY BUT WHAT IS GOOD TO BE RE-ELECTED (and therefore get a very nice salary). Monti is not a politician, he is a LEADER, and leaders know that the problem is that political parties and politicians only search their own interests.

    August 7, 2012 at 8:26 am |
  15. Ramil

    As a comment to Alexander's post – If these differences are really true then the EU community as it is will not survive. Why for example, should the German voter always feel like they have to keep bailing out the Greeks and Portuguese (to mention just two), just because those cultures feel like doing things tomorrow when these could actually be done today? If I was German I would have been fed up already, And the EU is still quite young, relatively speaking.

    August 7, 2012 at 8:33 am |
  16. anticrat

    Even the public in the most pro-European countries is getting skeptical for two reasons. Part of the membership is indulging in the EU benefits without responsibility. Secondly, the EU Commission is trying to obtain a political influence in the member countries, if they do not like the local electoral outcomes. That is like a national president putting a city mayor under pressure when the chosen town council does not suit his agenda. Such is nothing less than a dictatorial state. Today, they do not like the autonomous right wing electorate. If they would try to influence, similarly, the traditional left-wing electorate in the same manner Monti is displaying here, the masses would gather in the streets. If EU-skeotical political parties are elected, there is no time for eurocrat's whining. Instead, Brussels should analyze where it is going wrong.

    August 7, 2012 at 8:36 am |
  17. Colin

    Think Quest is talking about the Eurozone not the EU. As for these 17 nations becoming a US of Europe I think most of the politicians want it, but as long as it has to be voted on by the people then it wont happen.

    August 7, 2012 at 8:37 am |
  18. Alexander

    In the Netherlands and other countries that are not doing too bad, it's only an elitist and mostly leftist group that is fervently pro-Europe. In countries that don't do well it's a much wider group, since for them Europe is like a life-line. Simple comme un jour, like the French say. Apart from that, the advantages of a common economy and denomination are highly overrated by one and all.

    August 7, 2012 at 8:41 am |
  19. Migen Bora

    There has never been a united Europe. Just tell me how the hell a French guy is united with a Romanian guy for example (and worst than this , they must have euro-bonds in common to support their non-common debt????????!!!!!!!!!!).

    United Europe has only existed in the virtual worlds created by left side "intellectuals" , where common ideals (no one knows them ) would be gradually "educated" from above to the people.
    Again and again the left thinkers make their everlasting mistake : They under evaluate the common people , because of course they are "elites" and they have the duty to guide the masses through the dangerous valleys of economy (of life in general).
    Unfortunately , the ignorant masses don`t&can`t understand this , so the elites must educate. They created the EU out of pure ideals (just like the Soviet Union) , but then in order to keep it from failing they are willingly to make such economic sacrifices , just like the Soviet Union killed millions.
    And considering that the sacrifices will be made (again) by the ignorant masses , it is easier (since is not the "elites" making any).



    August 7, 2012 at 8:47 am |
  20. anticrat

    From the piles of red tape in Brussels, the illusion exists that there is a unified territory to be governed. In reality, I am harassed by a French waiter, simply because I am a northern European visitor.

    August 7, 2012 at 8:55 am |
  21. anticrat

    That includes the French-speaking waiters in Brussels.

    August 7, 2012 at 8:57 am |
  22. Elven K

    The end of the euro does not have to mean much. There are quite a few European nations which do not have the Euro. Does that hinder their ability to trade within Europe? Hardly. Does that hinder their ability to be participate in Europe in other ways? Hardly.

    Do I, living in a country which has the Euro, choose to vacation in the Austrian Alps instead of the Swiss Alps because I don't have to change money to go to Austria? Of course not. Changing currency as needed is simple and there are plenty of mechanisms in place to facilitate it, for private individuals and large businesses.

    Of course there will be short term pain with the end of the Euro, and, more significantly, the phenomenon of large debts which are unlikely to be repaid in full. Better to live through that short term pain than to keep creating bailouts.

    August 7, 2012 at 8:58 am |
  23. mloureiro

    Monti is correct. the EU model should have been changed a long time ago, during the good days. Even durign the good days there wasn't any will to do it. People just didn't want the loss of sovereignty, but they want the free-trade. This idea is not new it already worked pre WWI.

    The Return to sovereign currency will happen, but the Schengen Treaty and other trade treaties will be mostly kept.

    August 7, 2012 at 9:11 am |
  24. Matteo

    It is interesting to note that up to yesterday, the London Olympics medal count was 28 Golds for the USA, 30 for China, and 50 for the European Union. This, I believe, is something which is a number to reflect upon. Is it not? It shows many things, beyond the obvious which comes to mind – athletic strength in comparison to the number of population – and points to many other strengths. Europe is strong, and our differences is what makes us strong, too. More unity, a more unified approach, in full respect of our extraordinary and unique differences, could create something even more powerful than other apparent superpowers. Monti's comment is subtle – instead of going towards more unification, our economists and politicians are not thinking beyond narrow-minded boundaries (of all sorts) and blocking what will have to be, in my opinion, the birth of the United Nations of Europe, entirely different, entirely unified.

    August 7, 2012 at 9:38 am |
  25. anticrat

    @Matteo – nothing stops you from counting the total number of medals for Europe, by yourself. You will be surprised what the actual European amount of talent per capita is, in comparison to the USA, by the way.

    August 7, 2012 at 10:10 am |
  26. Matteo

    I did not make out much of your earlier comments in this post and I don't understand much the one above, pointed at me either. I am sorry to hear you are being treated poorly by the French-speaking waiters.

    August 7, 2012 at 10:21 am |
  27. anticrat

    @Matteo – Winnie the Pooh style then: you. can. be. proud. of. Europe. by. adding. up. all. its. Olympic. medals – without. creating. a. bureaucratic. monster. state.

    August 7, 2012 at 10:30 am |
  28. Matteo

    Are you in the comics business? You wrote it well then : ) No, I don't believe it would have to be a monster state. Unification is the future. If differences predominate, it is a no-go; if a clever system is conceived and it works well (better than the current one – it must be) it can work. Look at Switzerland. four different languages, different cultures and yet the most unified, invincible nation in the world (since 100 thousand years not invaded). The United Nations of Europe is not impossible.

    August 7, 2012 at 10:47 am |
  29. Matteo

    correction: 1000 years not invaded.

    August 7, 2012 at 10:50 am |
  30. Robert Powell PhD

    I don't know about the rest of you Europeans, but I'VE HAD IT WITH the crooked ECB, IMF & EU Commission thieves!

    - Stop VOTING for EU Politicians in bed with these ECB Banker Criminals and their EU Slime EU Commissioners!

    August 7, 2012 at 1:39 pm |
  31. ShoBiz

    (too)Nutti: so, those who cannot afford a decent living must just get used to it while those who capitalized on workers...blah blah are nuts!
    Your post makes no sense.

    August 7, 2012 at 1:43 pm |
  32. Mr. Robert

    Was Europe ever united? Its history (past and present) shows just the opposite.

    August 7, 2012 at 4:49 pm |
  33. geo68

    By injecting tremendous amounts of money from several sources, Europe takes exactly the same step as the U.S. did. and still is doing, i.e. artificially gaining time by easily making money available for a already dead duck. There are ways to use our money in a more useful way.

    August 7, 2012 at 5:20 pm |
  34. texaninbavaria

    The only thing that binds Europe together right now is the Euro. As long as Europeans refuse to speak a common language, it will be this way, regardless of freedom within EU borders. It's frustrating getting things "done" here between countries, even within the EU, such as commerce, internet, telephone services, even cash machines. I was in Italy and couldn't use my Deutsche Bank debit card. I try daily to source items online within the EU and with language barriers, shipping issues, and cultural differences within customer services is impossible most of the time. Monopolies are rampant, preventing fair prices and trade. Every country has their own snobbish way of stereotyping other cultures and countries. Even within each individual country there is no "melting pot" of cultures, but an ongoing "mixed salad" sociology.The North blames the South, and the South looks at the North as the enemy. Modern democracies competing like Old World kingdoms, un-united. This economical "house" is already divided, the question is "how long" before it falls?

    August 7, 2012 at 8:35 pm |
  35. texaninbavaria

    Remember, even Brussels, Belgium, the banking capital of Europe (no, it's not Zurich my fellow Americans) can't even decide on one language...

    August 7, 2012 at 8:44 pm |
  36. freedomnow66

    A can't believe everybody here wants to ride rough shod over rights and freedoms of people in individual countries.... maybe we all don't want to be ruled by a bunch of self motivated, self interest led bought politicians!!! People of America and Europe are led by people who are bought and paid for by Mega corporations, we need, no demand better than this!!!! We need a cleansing default, very painful but the ways of the past don't work, we then can rebuild with localism and determination by local people to better there own lives. With localism I don't mean protectionism, I just mean if local people ruled them selves they would be more accountable..

    August 9, 2012 at 12:59 pm |
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    August 10, 2012 at 4:31 pm |
  38. lol

    Europe came out of its caves 200 years back..time to return to walhalla rising.

    August 11, 2012 at 11:53 am |
  39. Steve

    London is Europe's commercial banking sector. You know, the thing that actually provides real jobs and money. It's bigger than Frankfurt, Paris and Zurich put together. The European Central Bank, whose aim is to keep eurozone inflation below 2% has its HQ in Frankfurt.

    August 14, 2012 at 11:18 pm |
  40. andrei

    The parliaments are the expression of the people so Monti made a perfectly antidemocratic statement. As for the 'psychological dissolution', if psychology is about money then I agree.

    August 18, 2012 at 6:21 pm |
  41. Jon

    Monti didn't say overthrow the Parliaments. He said to *educate* them, so that they understand the situation. That is, Monti was simply saying that it is important for leaders to be leaders.

    August 20, 2012 at 1:53 am |
  42. GOP

    Monti said something dangerous. In time of crisis in Europe, People must feel, that they are not only sheeps to shear off.
    He shoud not revealed it.

    August 20, 2012 at 9:18 am |
  43. Pete

    O.k. First make the learning of 4 of the most important (by gross national product) European languages mandatory for all citizens or settle on just one language spoken in all European countries, for example German. Then everybody can understand each other by, let's say 2020.

    August 20, 2012 at 7:52 pm |
  44. tabloid propaganda

    CNN biggest past time is bashing Julian Assange and the european dissolution , political and economical . This is the modern day "propaganda" of our times...

    August 23, 2012 at 9:04 pm |
  45. piypec

    Reblogged this on Informationnaija.

    August 25, 2012 at 6:31 pm |
  46. Vsb2007

    The posts here lack any merit. There is absolutely no objective analysis of the EU and its policies. France is also a major EU power. It is not even mentioned here. Europe is stronger than the USA right now.

    August 30, 2012 at 4:18 pm |
  47. Aristocles

    The problem with the Euro is that fewer and fewer people believe in it anymore.

    September 10, 2012 at 5:13 pm |
  48. Robert Powell PhD

    What a complete FRAUD and FARCE Merkel, Hollande, the EU, ECB and Dragi are: The EU and all its criminal politicians who created this entire financial mess have gone "Scott-free" without any one of them being held accountable or found guilty of fraud, theft and incredible misdeeds!

    Nothing will change in the EU with its corrupt politicians and Bankers and they will continue stealing EU citizen’s money, making the People the only ones responsible. Why has the EU Commission never asked Greek Politicians about the 200 billion Euros they have looted from the people and EU funds they stole and sent offshore and to Swiss banks?

    Because the Bankers & EU Commission is in on this game and absolutely corrupt… It is Pathetic... Time to tear the system down and start over... Stop voting for these horrible Criminal Politicians & jail the Bankers for financial fraud & get back citizens money!

    September 12, 2012 at 5:38 am |
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    Hilarious! I love all this talk about getting along. Human nature, as much as it is hated cannot be changed. Humans will act in self interest, whether a collective self interest, such as democratic goverment, or individually. The idea of government of the europe, or the world that is not directly resonsible to people will operate in the self interest of those in power. Our world will straighten out when the reality of self interest is front and center in our thinking so we can create government acknowledges that works in that context, like...daaaaa...democracy!...Mark twain said, democracy is the worst form of government, except for all the rest. There is no ability to create utopianism. We must humble ourselves and face facts and don't let the perfect be the enemy of the good

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