Whose Voice?

by Andrew Stuttaford

From the Daily Mail’s M.E. Syon:

Cockroach of the day, or hang around the European Commission long enough and something nasty always crawls out: now it turns out that the spokesman for the Italian prime minister Mario Monti is neither an Italian civil servant, nor an employee of Scelta Civica, (the ‘list’ of candidates supporting Monti in the current election), but a full-time employee of the European Commission.

And not on unpaid leave or anything like it: Elisabetta Olivi is working as Monti’s spokesman but still pulling her full salary from the (taxpayer-funded, that means us) commission payroll.

A commission spokesman assured journalists at a midday briefing late last week that ‘The existing rules [on staff regulations] have not in any way been broken.’ In fact, her secondment ‘is in the interests of the commission.’

You bet it is. You may remember that Mario Monti, an ex-European Commission[er] who has never been elected to anything anywhere, was parachuted into the job of prime minister in November 2011. This was after the commission, the ECB and the German chancellor decided Berlusconi was too free-thinking on the matter of adherence to EU austerity policy and they engineered a coup…

Monti is what he is, but what he is not is a believer in Italian democracy. 

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