Mario Draghi on track to becoming Macron 2.0: 'Last thing needs!'

ECB conference: Mario Draghi discusses policy stance

The voice of Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi is not only being heard loud and clear in Paris and Berlin, but it is also setting the agenda as the EU tried to emerge from the coronavirus pandemic. Jana Puglierin, senior policy fellow at the European Council on Foreign Relations told the Financial Times: “ was always seen as the EU’s juvenile delinquent, and now it’s the model European." On Monday, Mr Draghi, the former President of the European Central Bank (ECB), will present ’s plans to spend €190billion (£165bn) of EU loans and grants alongside a set of structural reforms seen as critical to the entire credibility of Europe’s post-Covid recovery effort.

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Mr Draghi has also announced will run its largest budget deficit since the early Nineties, and has decided to increase borrowing ahead of a call from the IMF for all EU countries to do the same.

Financial markets, often worried about the size of ’s public debt, for now remain unconcerned — a sign of confidence in the new Prime Minister.

Moreover, previously thorny relations between and Paris have suddenly blossomed, according to diplomats from both countries.

Mr Draghi holds regular calls with Mr Macron, including one last week, to discuss the pandemic and other strategic issues.

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However, Thomas Fazi, journalist and author, has recently argued that Mr Draghi is actually the "last thing needs" and that he is on track to becoming "Macron 2.0."

Mr Fazi believes that the notion that ’s problems fundamentally lay in its lack of liberalising reforms and that by embarking on said reforms the country can finally put itself on a path of growth once again is an old trope.

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Unfortunately, he argued, it is completely unsupported by the data.

He wrote: "Indeed, since the early Nineties, as this recent study documents, has introduced a huge number of liberalising reforms ranging from corporate governance reforms aimed at making corporate control more contestable, to privatisation of the main state-owned banks and enterprises, as well as reforms enhancing labour market flexibility and increasing product-market competition.

"Indeed, the data 'shows that introduced liberalizing reforms more intensely than most other countries, especially from 1992 on, more than Germany and, especially, France'.

"Just over the past decade, ’s 'ease of doing business' ranking, according to the World Bank, has jumped from the 78th to the 58th position, a 20-point improvement, with no noticeable impact on growth.

"Indeed, if anything, the introduction of these reforms has coincided with the beginning of the stagnation of the ’s economy."

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It is expected Mr Draghi could further push for a fiscal union – particularly given his time at the ECB. In 2012, at the height of the eurozone crisis, Mr Draghi had already told eurozone leaders they should have accepted more transfer of powers. During a meeting of the eurozone's central bank governing council, Mr Draghi explained that governments had to stick to tighter budgets, while reforming labour markets, increasing competition, re-balancing employment towards young people. He said:French President Emmanuel Macron (Image:

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