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De Martini: budgetary rules are strangling Italy’s local authorities and keeping schools closed

19 July 2013

De Martini: budgetary rules are strangling Italy’s local authorities and keeping schools closed

Susy De Martini, an independent centre-right MEP, who is a member of the ECR Group, to which David Cameron’s Conservative Party belongs, issued a statement the day after a meeting between the Italian and British Prime Ministers.

Susy De Martini, an independent centre-right MEP, who is a member of the European Conservatives and Reformists Group, to which David Cameron’s Conservative Party belongs, issued a statement the day after a meeting between the Italian and British Prime Ministers.

She said: “The EU’s obsession with the euro, banks, and financial statements is putting people in a stranglehold. It is driving a wedge between the people and the common European sentiment that inspired the Founding Fathers. On this I am in full agreement with Mr Cameron, and that is why I chose to join the ECR Group, while remaining faithful to the mandate of my PDL constituents.”

Mrs De Martini said that Europe needed to fight for change, moving away from a Europe dominated by Mrs Merkel and the bankers.

She added: “My commitment to the European Parliament is based on being able to change course. Starting with my country, Italy, and with the problems arising in my region such as the reviled Stability Pact, adopted by the Italian government to meet demands by Europe.

“Thanks to the Stability Pact, our local authorities – even if they have done nothing wrong – have a noose around their necks. They have the money but they cannot spend it. Our state schools cannot be refurbished; even when destroyed by fire, as is the case with schools in Sori. The local authority has money available but the Stability Pact won’t let them spend it.

“The quality of life in cities and countries is at an historic low and social services are at risk.”

Mrs De Martini cited work of the ANCI (National Association of Italian Municipalities) in Liguria. The ISTAT (Italian national statistical institute) data, passed on by the Secretary of ANCI Liguria, Pierluigi Vinai, confirm that Ligurian local authorities are among the soundest in Italy. with 500 million euro or more available, but they cannot spend it. The situation has been denounced by ANCI Piedmont, while the new national president of ANCI, Piero Fassino, has admitted that the Stability Pact is a straitjacket for local authorities. In Lombardy an attempt is being made to emerge from the crisis with the Regional Vertical Stability Pact, looking to unlock 212 million euro.

Mrs De Martini warned: “If we don’t change, and change quickly, local authorities will no longer be able to meet the requirements of the people. If that happens, we will have gone very far wrong. Politicians will not be able to fulfil their main function: to serve the people. We cannot allow this.”

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