Sputnik: How justified are Mr. Salvini’s statements? Why is the euro wrong as he put it and why does he believe that it will end soon? Do you tend to agree with this?
Antonio Moreno: A couple of facts I think motivate his statement, on one hand, I think Italy's still suffering from the aftermath of the financial crisis in Europe and the consequences in terms of austerity and policies they had to take, people are not happy with them, and in general I would say that Italy hasn't been able to grow too much over the last 15 years or so, so people are in a way dissatisfied with the way the economy works and I think he's capturing this fact that people are concerned about this.
Sputnik: Do you think there’s some support in Italy for this, is the momentum to actually abandon the euro and introduce the lira back into the country, do they think that this is the solution to the grave economic situation the Italians are experiencing, what are your thoughts on that?
Antonio Moreno: I don’t think that the euro is the main problem of the Italian economy, this is from reading the data, talking to my Italian colleagues, I would say that there are other problems that have been key and are important in the Italian economy that sometimes should be taken more into consideration, and when you think about people who have voted for Mr. Salvini and the other parties, not only the anti-euro, there's a couple of things that should be taken into account. One is corruption, people in Italy are basically very fed up with corruption and many politicians are being blamed for that, the establishment is being blamed for that, that's why people are switching to others, to more populist parties. The other fact, which I think is important to take into account, is the immigration factor. Italy has received a lot of immigration in a short amount of time and in a way they see that this has been kind of imposed by the European Union, so this vote is indeed kind of against the European Union in a way, but I don't think it's because of the euro.
Antonio Moreno: If you look back at the past, when Italy or countries like Spain had its own currency, but I think Italy is the case in point, when you have your own currency for instance, in times of a recession, in bad times you can increase your own currency and then you can have short-term growth basically by making a boost to your exports, the point that I'm making here is that these gains typically, we economists know, are very short-term type of gains, but yes, you can stimulate your economy in the short run by your currency depreciation, controlling your own currency say the new lira, but I don't think this is going to bring anything good for the Italian economy in terms of sustainable growth. I think sustainable growth depends on a number of factors like good institutions, technology and also good policies and not opportunistic policies, so the scenario of a new lira, I don't think it's going to bring any good to them.
Sputnik: What's your prognosis for the euro, it has been sort of a beating ground for numerous commentators of the last few years especially the time the financial crisis kicked in and austerity, do you think there's a future for the currency, could we expect more statements similar to those of Mr. Salvini, ultimately, do you think it's going to survive?
Antonio Moreno: Politically the euro needs more support, more support from Europe in a way saying the European Union and in this case the eurozone needs to persuade it's citizens the advantages of the euro, one of them is price stability and, one of them has also been the institutional stability in terms of the European Cental Bank. It's true that there've also been recessions but in the long run the euro policy framework is bery good, people need to be persuaded that it does have advantages that are basically larger than the disadvantages.
On the other hand I would say, and this is very important, that the euro is unfinished business, we've seen during the last 10 years that countries like Spain, Italy, Greece and Portugal suffered a lot and partly it's because the European Union and the euro area has not completed the euro integration with more fiscal backing, with more integrated financial institutions with stronger backing and I think that's what needs to be done. In my view if this euro architecture isn't completed in the next 4-5 years then the euro is going to be in trouble, there's no doubt about it, but I think it can be done if the good policies are set in place and if the citizens of Europe are persuaded by these policies and also in a way they identify themselves more with Europe and this new European future going forward, so there’s a lot on the European Union’s plate to convince people about it, but it is still possible.
The views and opinions expressed by Antonio Moreno are those of the speaker and do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.