Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti said northern European leaders have gone too far disparaging southern countries and proposed a code of conduct to muzzle divisive rhetoric throughout the region.
“We may have to talk directly in the European Council to consider whether we should come up with a code of conduct for public remarks by the people who love to call themselves European leaders,” Monti said today in a speech in Fiesole, Italy. He compared the euro to the crowning ornament on a gothic cathedral and said derisive commentary, like insults traded in the German and Greek press, threatens to destroy it.
Monti followed Germany’s Angela Merkel and Finland’s Jyrki Katainen in singling out politicians’ rhetoric for deepening the region’s financial crisis. He wants leaders to show cohesion. Monti, a former European Union commissioner and university president, challenged Italian politicians to monitor their rhetoric and warned lawmakers from northern Europe not to slight their southern counterparts.
“It’s a rather dangerous posture,” Monti said. The Italian premier is going beyond heads of government and talking directly with legislators, “above all with lawmakers from those countries that are probably very virtuous themselves, but that are convincing themselves they’re the exclusive holders of virtue,” he said.