During his intervention at the annual Ambrosetti Workshop in Cernobbio on Lake Como, the Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti referred to the upcoming elections of next May saying it is “inconceivable that a democratic country as Italy cannot find qualified candidates on the ballot to lead the country”. Monti declined the opportunity to run for another mandate as PM, his current appointment ending in 2013.
These words are paramount to recent news about the slower growth of Italian GDP, which recorded a contraction, based on the data published yesterday by the Italian Institute of Statistics (ISTAT). The fourth successive contraction has raised concerns about the ability the government of technocrats has to get public finances back on track. Gross Domestic Product dropped 2.6 percent compared to the estimate of 2.5 percent on an annual basis. In spite of that, the Prime Minister has shown optimism. “The data available do not reveal an economic recovery has started yet – Monti said – but it is now within reach and I believe it will soon arrive,” he added.
So far, Monti’s cabinet choices – however hard to withstand for many tax-overladen Italians – have only succeded in cutting consumer spending and boosting unemployment, thus slowing GDP growth. The Italian economy has been contracting for four straight quarters now and its recession will very likely continue during 2013.