Carlo Cottarelli believer in the euro and in the necessity of Italy cutting its stubbornly high-debt load.
UNITED STATES.- The man tapped to head a neutral government in Italy after two populists failed in their bid is a former official at the International Monetary Fund who is a firm believer in the euro and in the necessity of Italy cutting its stubbornly highdebt load.
Carlo Cottarelli, an economist, has previous government experience under the short-lived center-left government of Enrico Letta, tapped to identify areas where government spending could be trimmed. He found 32 billion euros ($37 billion) in cuts, but left embittered when the government soon changed hands at the obstacles he found within the bureaucracy resisting cuts.
On Monday, President Sergio Mattarella tapped Cottarelli to try to form a government that can bring Italy to a new election, which Cottarelli said could come as early as this autumn.
In his first remarks, Cottarelli sought to calm markets and Italy’s European partners, assuring that his government would guarantee “prudent” management of Italy’s debt, which at 132 percent of gross domestic product is Europe’s heaviest after Greece.
While vowing to press Brussels to respond to the concerns of Italians, Cottarelli said any such dialogue must be in “full recognition that as a founding country of the European Union, our role in the union is essential, as is our continued participation in the eurozone.”
Cottarelli received an undergraduate degree in economics and banking from the University of Siena and a master’s degree from the London School of Economics. He worked seven years at the Bank of Italy and then one at oil company Eni, both in research positions, before heading to the IMF, where he worked for 25 years, specializing in monetary policy, capital markets and fiscal affairs.
Since October, he has headed an observatory on Italian public accounts at the Catholic University of Milan, where he has a healthy Twitter feed of 15,000 followers.
He recently wrote a book,“The Seven Capital Sins of the Italian economy,” which might be read as a mission statement for a new government.