‘What’s next? Mafia for Justice?’ Varoufakis slams Italy over new EU funds appointment
Yanis Varoufakis claims European democracy was 'poisoned'
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The Italian Prime Minister is facing criticism for hiring consulting agency McKinsey to help him rewrite plans for spending the European Union funds aimed at the recovery of the country’s economy post-pandemic. Mr Draghi announced on Saturday he had signed a €25,000 (£21,500) contract with McKinsey to look at the plans.
The move was promptly criticised by the former Greek finance minister who blasted the Italian leader on Twitter.
Mr Varoufakis wrote: “So predictable, so sad: Mario Draghi hired McKinsey to ‘organise’ Italy’s distribution of Recovery Fund monies.
“Get the Mafia to re-organise the Ministry of Justice?”
An Italian official told Reuters McKinsey was willing to work pro bono but the government insisted that they have at least expenses paid.
Mr Draghi, former president of the European Central Bank, took office last month after the collapse of the previous coalition.
A first priority is to redraft Italy’s Recovery Plan, which must be handed to the European Commission by April to tap more than €200 billion of EU funds and revive the pandemic-hit economy.
News about the contract was leaked by Italian Radio Popolare on Friday and sparked criticism on Twitter from MPs in Mr Draghi’s new coalition, which includes parties from the left to right.
Stefano Fassina, a deputy for the LEU party, called the move “humiliating” for administration civil servants and said it removed political accountability.
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Former minister for the Regions Francesco Boccia, from the Democratic Party (PD), told Reuters that given McKinsey’s role helping multinational firms define their investment strategies, “it would not be free of conflict of interests in advising the Italian state on strategic public policy decisions”.
It is not the first time Mr Varoufakis hit out at the Italian leader.
Speaking to Radio Popolare ahead of Mr Draghi’s confirmation to the top job, Mr Varoufakis warned the former ECB director would undoubtedly act in Brussels and Berlin’s best interests before taking Italians’ priorities at heart.
The left-wing eurosceptic who was finance minister of Greece during the 2012 eurozone crisis, said he remembers Mr Draghi’s handling of Greece’s bankruptcy very well as he warned Italian politicians against voting for him in Parliament later this week.
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He said: “Humanly, Draghi is like everyone else in Brussels and Frankfurt, at least as I remember him at the Eurogroup.
“Politically he is at the service of the financial order. Technically he is very capable and has shown great ability to understand what is good and what is not in the logic of service to the financial order and the establishment.
“In this sense, he is the ideal prime minister for Italy if what you really want is to implement the policies of Brussels and Berlin and to pretend that the Recovery Fund is truly the salvation of Italy. While it is nothing more than a debt package.”
Asked whether Mr Draghi could be seen as an envoy of the Troika, Mr Varoufakis said: “It would not be the first time, it has already happened with Mario Monti, another intelligent man whose technical government acted as the Troika wanted, otherwise the proper Troika would have arrived.
“This is how things work in the eurozone, especially in countries close to bankruptcy, those that are not sustainable within this monetary union, where political decisions are dictated from abroad, from the centres of financial power and with the enthusiastic support of local oligarchies, whether Greek or Italian, against the great majority of people, of the people.”
He continued: “Undoubtedly Draghi is intelligent and very competent, very good at achieving his goals.
“The great tragedy of the Italian people is that his objectives are enemies of the interests of the great majority of Italians.
“Draghi will not be autonomous, as former premier Monti was not.
“He will have to report to parties that are now zombies but above all in Brussels and Berlin.
“He may even have a fairly Keynesian and social democratic semblance, in public he may even blame Brussels, Frankfurt and Berlin for not supporting him enough, but he will carry out all their imperatives.
“As a Democrat, I would always vote against a technocrat like Mario Draghi, it is essential that we defend the right of people to choose who governs them.
“And in addition to this, I must say that I personally remember well when Draghi was decisive in closing the ATMs in Greece, so as to prevent the Greek people from freely deciding in the referendum in which the position to be held vis-à-vis Brussels was decided.
“I think that every democrat in Italy must oppose his government.”
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