Mario Monti

Senator for life
Mario Monti
54th Prime Minister of Italy
In office
16 November 2011  28 April 2013
President Giorgio Napolitano
Preceded by Silvio Berlusconi
Succeeded by Enrico Letta
Minister of Economy and Finances
In office
16 November 2011  11 July 2012
Prime Minister Himself
Preceded by Giulio Tremonti
Succeeded by Vittorio Grilli
European Commissioner for Competition
In office
15 September 1999  30 October 2004
President Romano Prodi
Preceded by Karel Van Miert
Succeeded by Neelie Kroes
European Commissioner for Internal Market, Services, Customs and Taxation
In office
18 January 1995  15 September 1999
President Jacques Santer
Preceded by Raniero Vanni d'Archirafi
Succeeded by Frits Bolkestein
Personal details
Born (1943-03-19) 19 March 1943
Varese, Italy
Political party Independent (1995–13; 2015–present)
Civic Choice (2013–15)
Spouse(s) Elsa Antonioli (m. 1970)
Children Federica
Alma mater Bocconi University
Yale University
Religion Roman Catholicism
This article is part of a series about
Mario Monti
  • Political offices

Senator for life (2011– )
Prime Minister (2011–2013)
Minister of Economy and Finance (2011–2012)

  • Elections

Mario Monti, OMRI (born 19 March 1943) is an Italian economist who served as the Prime Minister of Italy from 2011 to 2013, leading a government of technocrats in the wake of the Italian debt crisis.

Monti served as a European Commissioner from 1995 to 2004, with responsibility for the Internal Market, Services, Customs and Taxation from 1995 to 1999 and for Competition from 1999 to 2004. Monti has also been Rector and President of Bocconi University in Milan for many years. On 12 November 2011, in the midst of the European sovereign debt crisis, Monti was invited by President Giorgio Napolitano to form a new technocratic government following the resignation of Silvio Berlusconi. Monti was sworn in as Prime Minister on 16 November 2011, just a week after having been appointed a Senator for Life by President Napolitano, and initially became Minister of Economy and Finances as well, giving that portfolio up the following July. From 16 May 2013 to 17 October 2013 Monti was the President of Civic Choice, a centrist[1] political party.

Early life

Monti was born in Varese on 19 March 1943.[2] His mother was from Piacenza. Although his father grew up in Varese, he was born in Luján in the Buenos Aires Province, Argentina, where his grandfather Abramo had emigrated to from Italy in the 19th century and built up a soft-drink and beer-production business.[3][4] Monti's father went back to Argentina during World War II, but later returned to his family home in Varese.[5]

Monti studied at the private Leo XIII High School and attended Bocconi University of Milan, where he obtained a degree in economics in 1965. Later, he won a scholarship to Yale University where he studied under James Tobin, a recipient of the Nobel Prize in Economics.[6][7]

Academic career

Monti began his academic career at the University of Trento, before moving to teach economics at the University of Turin from 1970 to 1985, and finally to Bocconi University, where he was appointed Rector in 1989, and President in 1994. He also served as President of the SUERF (The European Money and Finance Forum) from 1982 to 1985.[8] His research helped to create the "Klein-Monti model", aimed at describing the behaviour of banks operating under monopoly circumstances.[9]

European Commissioner

Santer Commission

In 1994, Monti was appointed to the Santer Commission, along with Emma Bonino, by Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi. In his office as a European Commissioner from 1994 to 1999, he was responsible for internal market, financial services and financial integration, customs, and taxation.[10] His work with the Commission earned him the nickname "Super Mario" from his colleagues and from the press.[11]

Prodi Commission

Mario Monti served as a European Commissioner from 1995 to 2004.

In 1999, Prime Minister Massimo D'Alema confirmed Monti's appointment to the new Prodi Commission and he was given one of the most powerful positions at the Commission, with responsibility for Competition.[12]

As Competition Commissioner, Monti led the investigation into a number of high-profile and controversial mergers, including: Scania AB & Volvo (1999),[13] WorldCom & Sprint (2000),[14] General Electric & Honeywell (2001), Schneider Electric & Legrand (2001)[15] and Carnival Corporation & P&O Ferries (2002).[16] His term in office also saw the European Court of Justice, for the first time, overrule the Commission's decision to block a merger in three separate cases, although two were decided by his predecessor.[17] Monti was also responsible for levying the EU's largest ever fine at the time (€497 million) against Microsoft for abusing its dominant market position in 2004.[18]

Monti was criticised in the media and by competition lawyers for the perceived inflexibility of the merger oversight process and the high number of cases that were being blocked.[13][19][20] On 1 November 2002, Monti responding to the European Court of Justice's ruling which reversed his decision to block the merger between Airtours & First Choice Holidays said, "Last week was a tough week for the Commission's merger control policy and of course for me."[17][20] This ruling in combination with his decision to block the General Electric & Honeywell merger led to criticism in the United States against both the Commission's procedures and accusations that Monti's decisions were politically motivated.[21] Monti, however, was defended by supporters who saw his actions as an important step in the development of competition law in the EU. Dan Rubinfeld, economics professor at the University of California who worked on the US Justice Department's antitrust case against Microsoft, said of Monti, "There has been a lot of talk of politics in this and other cases, but I believe he has been driven entirely by the desire to do the right thing."[17]

On 11 December 2002, Monti proposed a series of reforms to the EU's merger rules and made structural changes within the Commission's Competition department which aimed to improve transparency for companies throughout the merger review process.[22] The reforms were adopted by the EU as Regulation 139/2004 (known as ECMR).

In 2004, Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi returned to power in Italy and chose not to re-appoint Monti to the Commission when his second term ended.[23]

Barroso Commission

In 2010, Monti was asked by Commission President Manuel Barroso to draft a "Report on the Future of the Single Market" proposing further measures towards the completion of the EU's Single Market.[24][25] The published report, adopted by the EU on 13 April 2011, proposed 12 reforms to the Single Market and was intended to "give new momentum" to the European economy.[26]

Prime Minister of Italy


Monti's Cabinet swearing-in ceremony at the presence of President Napolitano.

On 9 November 2011, Monti was appointed a lifetime senator by Italian President Giorgio Napolitano.[27] He was seen as a favourite to replace Silvio Berlusconi to lead a new unity government in Italy in order to implement reforms and austerity measures.[28] On 12 November 2011, following Berlusconi's resignation, Napolitano invited Monti to form a new government.[29] Monti accepted the offer, and held talks with the leaders of the main Italian political parties, declaring that he wanted to form a government that would remain in office until the next scheduled general elections in 2013.[30] On 16 November 2011, Monti was sworn in as Prime Minister of Italy, after unveiling a technocratic cabinet composed entirely of unelected professionals.[31] He also chose to hold the post of Minister of Economy and Finances.[32][33] On 17 and 18 November 2011, the Italian Senate and Italian Chamber of Deputies both passed motions of confidence supporting Monti's government, with only Lega Nord voting against.[34][35]

Austerity measures

On 4 December 2011, Monti's government introduced emergency austerity measures intended to stem the worsening economic conditions in Italy and restore market confidence, especially after rising Italian government bond yields began to threaten Italy's financial stability.[36] The austerity package called for increased taxes, pension reform and measures to fight tax evasion. Monti also announced that he would be giving up his own salary as part of the reforms.[37] On 16 December 2011, the Lower House of the Italian Parliament adopted the measures by a vote of 495 to 88.[38] Six days later the Upper House gave final approval to the package by a vote of 257 to 41.[39]

Labour market reforms

On 20 January 2012, Monti's government formally adopted a package of reforms targeting Italy's labour market. The reforms are intended to open certain professions (such as taxi drivers, pharmacists, doctors, lawyers and notaries) to more competition by reforming their licensing systems and abolishing minimum tariffs for their services.[40][41] Article 18 of Italy's labour code, which requires companies that employ 15 or more workers to re-hire (rather than compensate) any employee found to have been fired without just cause,[42][43] would also be reformed. The reforms to Article 18 are intended to make it easier for companies to dismiss or lay-off employees, which would hopefully encourage companies to hire more employees on permanent rather than short-term renewable contracts.[43] The proposals have been met by strong opposition from labour unions and public protests.[44] In early January 2012, consultations between the government and labour unions commenced[45] and on 13 February it was reported in the Italian media that a compromise on the proposals was very close and the government was hopeful that reforms could be approved by the Italian parliament in March.[46]

2013 election

On 21 December 2012, Monti announced his resignation as Prime Minister, having made a public promise to step down after the passing of the 2012 Budget. He initially stated that he would only remain in office until an early election could be held.[47] However, on 28 December, he announced that he would seek to remain Prime Minister by contesting the election, as the leader of a centrist coalition, the Civic Choice.

The election was held on 24 February 2013, and Monti's centrist coalition was only able to come fourth, with 10.5% of the vote. Monti remained Prime Minister until a coalition was formed on 28 April led by Enrico Letta.[48]

Political career

Senator for life

Monti with Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev at the 38th G8 summit.

On 9 November 2011, Monti was appointed a lifetime senator by Italian President Giorgio Napolitano, in accordance with the second paragraph of "Article 59 of the Constitution, which merits national honor distinguished in science and social". He was a member of the Commission for Industry, Commerce and Tourism from 30 November 2011 to 14 March 2013 in the sixteenth legislature. Monti was member of the independents' mixed parliamentary group until 19 March 2013, when he joined the Civic Choice (SC) parliamentary group, becoming the first lifetime senator aligned to a party group. On 7 May 2013, he became a member of the Commission for Foreign Affairs and Emigration.

President of Civic Choice

On 4 January 2013, Monti launched Civic Choice as an electoral list of the civil society, to realize the implementation of his agenda in a future government. SC was announced as part of the With Monti for Italy (CMI) centrist coalition, alongside Union of the Centre (UdC) and Future and Freedom (FLI). In the 2013 general election the party obtained 8.3% of the vote, 37 deputies (on own lists) and 15 senators (within CMI). On 12 March 2013, Civic Choice was turned into a political party as Monti took office as acting SC president in the Provisional Committee of the party and appointed senator Andrea Olivero as provisional political coordinator. On 16 May 2013, Mario Monti was unanimously elected president of the Civic Choice.

On 17 October 2013 he resigned and was replaced by his deputy Alberto Bombassei as acting president.[49] Monti cited his disagreement with 12 senators (out of 20), including Mario Mauro, Andrea Olivero, Gabriele Albertini, Pier Ferdinando Casini (UdC leader), Maria Paola Merloni, Luigi Marino and Lucio Romano. Particularly, Monti criticized Mauro's line of unconditioned support to the government and of transforming SC in a larger centre-right political party, open to The People of Freedom.[50][51][52]

Think tanks

Monti actively participates in several major think tanks. He is a member of the Praesidium of Friends of Europe. He was the founding chairman of Bruegel, another European think tank, which was formed in 2005. He was the European Chairman of the Trilateral Commission until being sworn in as prime minister in 2011.[53]

Monti is a leading member of the exclusive Bilderberg Group.[54] He has also been an international advisor to Goldman Sachs[55] and The Coca-Cola Company.[56] He has also been a member of the "Senior European Advisory Council" of Moody's[57] and he is one of the members of the "Business and Economics Advisors Group" of the Atlantic Council.[58]

In 2007, Mario Monti was one of the first supporters of the first European civic forum, États Généraux de l'Europe, initiated by European think tank EuropaNova and European Movement. He was also a member of the French government's Attali Commission from 2007 to 2008,[6][59] appointed by Nicolas Sarkozy to provide recommendations to enhance economic growth in France.

Monti is a founding member of the Spinelli Group,[60] an organization launched in September 2010 to facilitate integration within the European Union (other members of the steering group include Jacques Delors, Daniel Cohn-Bendit, Guy Verhofstadt, Andrew Duff and Elmar Brok).

Since January 2014, Monti has been Chairman of the High Level Group on Own Resources, a consultative committee of the European Union that will propose new forms of revenue for the European Union's budget.

Personal life

Since 1970 Monti has been married to Elsa Antonioli (born 1944),[61] an Italian Red Cross volunteer, with whom he has two children, Federica and Giovanni.[62]

Known for his reserved character, Monti acknowledges not being especially sociable.[63] He said that his youth was given over to hard study; spare-time activities included cycling and keeping up with world affairs by tuning into foreign short-wave radio stations.[63]

Awards and decorations

Knight Grand Cross of the Order of Merit of the Italian Republic – awarded on 29 November 2004[64]
Commander of the Order of Merit of the Italian Republic – awarded on 27 December 1992[65]
Grand Cordon of the Order of the Rising Sun – awarded on 3 November 2015

See also


  1. Wolfram Nordsieck. "Parties and Elections in Europe".
  2. "Mario Monti nominato senatore a vita — La mossa del Colle, il via libera del premier". La Repubblica (in Italian). 9 November 2011. Retrieved 14 November 2011.
  3. "Monti d'Italia e d'Argentina – Il Grande Sud" (in Italian). Il Sole 24 Ore. 17 November 2011. Retrieved 30 December 2011.
  4. "Mario Monti, el sucesor de Berlusconi, es hijo de un argentino" (in Spanish). La Nación. 14 November 2011. Retrieved 30 December 2011.
  5. Camanzini, Enrico. "Mario Monti, dalla città giardino al Palazzo Madama: I ricordi delle gite sui monti delle Prealpi" (in Italian). Il Giorno. 12 November 2011. Retrieved 17 November 2011.
  6. 1 2 Public hearing: Strengthening economic governance in the EU (Brussels, 13 January 2011) Curriculum vitae of speakers. Retrieved 12 November 2011.
  7. Clift, Jeremy (June 2005). "Super Mario and the Temple of Learning". International Monetary Fund.
  8. Staff (n.d.). "Past SUERF Presidents and Vice Presidents". SUERF. Retrieved 14 November 2011.
  9. Matthews, Kent and Thompson, John (2008). The economics of banking, Chapter 6: The Theory of the Banking Firm, pp. 77–91. Wiley. Retrieved 13 February 2012.
  10. "Ex EU Commissioner Mario Monti Takes over Italy". Sofia News Agency. 14 November 2011. Retrieved 12 June 2013.
  11. Smith-Spark, Laura (13 November 2011). "Who is Italy's 'Super Mario' Monti?". CNN. Retrieved 15 November 2011.
  12. "Examining the EU executive". BBC. 23 July 2004. Retrieved 13 February 2012.
  13. 1 2 "Monti puts brakes on EU merger mania". European Voice. 23 March 2000. Retrieved 13 February 2012.
  14. "Sprint, WorldCom call off $120 billion merger". CNet News. 13 July 2000. Retrieved 13 February 2012.
  15. "A shocking denouement". The Economist. 11 October 2001. Retrieved 13 February 2012.
  16. "EU backs Carnival bid for P&O". The Guardian. 25 July 2002. Retrieved 13 February 2012.
  17. 1 2 3 "The full Monti". CNet News. 24 March 2004. Retrieved 13 February 2012.
  18. "Microsoft hit by record EU fine". BBC. 24 March 2004. Retrieved 13 February 2012.
  19. "Spaghetti Monti". The Economist. 5 October 2000. Retrieved 13 February 2012.
  20. 1 2 "Mario Monti: Merger man on a mission". BBC. 1 November 2002. Retrieved 13 February 2012.
  21. "Monti braves the catcalls". The Economist. 13 December 2001. Retrieved 13 February 2012.
  22. "Monti unveils merger reform proposals based on US model". European Voice. 12 December 2002. Retrieved 13 February 2012.
  23. "Profile: Mario Monti". BBC. 13 November 2011. Retrieved 12 February 2012.
  24. "Mario Monti to draw up single market report". EU Observer. 21 October 2009. Retrieved 13 February 2012.
  25. Report on the future of the Single Market, 2010
  26. "Twelve projects for the 2012 Single Market: together for new growth". European Commission. 13 April 2011. Retrieved 13 February 2012.
  27. "Napolitano nomina Monti senatore a vita". Corriere della Sera. 9 November 2011. Retrieved 9 November 2011.
  28. Vagnoni, Giselda; Hornby, Catherine (10 November 2011). "Mario Monti Emerges as Favorite To Lead Italy". Reuters. Retrieved 10 November 2011.
  29. "Incarico a Monti: "Occorre crescita ed equità"". la Repubblica. 12 November 2011. Retrieved 12 November 2011.
  30. Donadio, Rachel; Povoledo, Elisabetta (16 November 2011). "Facing Crisis, Technocrats Take Charge in Italy". The New York Times. Retrieved 16 November 2011.
  31. "Monti Unveils Technocratic Cabinet for Italy" (16 November 2011). BBC News. Retrieved 17 November 2011.
  32. Squires, Nick (16 November 2011). "Mario Monti Appoints Himself Economy Minister as He Unveils Italy Government". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 16 November 2011.
  33. "Monti Unveils Technocratic Cabinet for Italy". BBC News. 16 November 2011. Retrieved 17 November 2011.
  34. Winfield, Nicole (18 November 2011). "Italian leader Mario Monti wins second confidence vote". The Independent. Retrieved 10 February 2012.
  35. "New Italy PM wins confidence vote on tough reform plans". Reuters. 17 November 2011. Retrieved 13 February 2012.
  36. "Europe Italy Bonds.Italy Pays More Than 7% at Treasury-Bond Auction for Third Time in a Week". Bloomberg. 29 November 2011. Retrieved 10 February 2012.
  37. "Italy crisis: Mario Monti announces austerity plan". BBC. 4 December 2011. Retrieved 10 February 2012.
  38. "Italy's Monti wins confidence vote over austerity". BBC. 16 December 2011. Retrieved 10 February 2012.
  39. "Italy senate passes Monti's austerity package". BBC. 22 December 2011. Retrieved 10 February 2012.
  40. "Italy approves sweeping reforms". BBC News. 20 January 2012. Retrieved 13 February 2012.
  41. "Monti unveils liberalisation plans". Financial Times. 20 January 2012. Retrieved 13 February 2012.
  42. "Berlusconi 2, Cofferati 1". The Economist. 27 June 2002. Retrieved 13 February 2012.
  43. 1 2 "Italy govt to pass labour reforms even without unions". Reuters. 2 February 2012. Retrieved 13 February 2012.
  44. "Italy vs the unions". Financial Post. 27 December 2011. Retrieved 13 February 2012.
  45. "Italy begins talks on labour market reform". France 24. 9 January 2012. Retrieved 13 February 2012.
  46. "E il Professore accelera sulla riforma". La Repubblica. 13 February 2012. Retrieved 13 February 2012.
  47. "Italy's Mario Monti set to resign as MPs pass budget". BBC. Retrieved 21 December 2012.
  48. "Italy gets unusual left-right coalition government with Enrico Letta as PM". Toronto Star. 27 April 2013. Retrieved 3 June 2013.
  49. Monti si dimette da Scelta Civica: "11 senatori più Mauro mi hanno sfiduciato"/
  50. "«Ho imbarcato specialisti di slalom Senza me Berlusconi sarebbe sul Colle". Corriere. Retrieved 5 December 2013.
  51. "Mario Monti si dimette da Scelta Civica". Scelta Civica per l'Italia. Retrieved 5 December 2013.
  52. "About the Trilateral Commission - European Region". Trilateral Commission. Retrieved 3 April 2013.
  53. "Steering Committee". Bilderberg Meetings. Retrieved 12 November 2011.
  54. Foley, Stephen (18 November 2011). "What Price the New Democracy? Goldman Sachs Conquers Europe". The Independent. Retrieved 18 November 2011.
  55. European Commission  Economic and Financial Affairs. Brussels Economic Forum 2009, speakers: "Mario Monti". Retrieved 19 November 2011.
  56. "NYU SternConnect - Speaker Profile".
  57. Jason Harmala. "Advisory Groups". Atlantic Council.
  58. Commission Attali
  59. "MEP Spinelli Group launched today in European Parliament". EurActiv PR.
  60. "Monti 'non-era un secchione': parla Padre Uberto Ceroni, suo ex prof" (in Italian). Blitz. 10 February 2012. Retrieved 10 February 2012.
  61. "'Mario Monti il professore riservato ma intransigente dallo humour anglosassone'" (in Italian). Adnkronos. 13 November 2011. Retrieved 14 November 2011.
  62. 1 2 "Reserved Mario Monti Has Little in Common with Colourful Silvio Berlusconi". National Post. Agence France-Presse. 13 November 2011. Retrieved 21 November 2011.
  63. "Presidential Awards". Quirinal Palace. Retrieved 19 November 2011.
  64. "Presidential Awards". Quirinal Palace. Retrieved 19 November 2011.
Wikimedia Commons has media related to Mario Monti.
Academic offices
Preceded by
Luigi Guatri
Rector of Bocconi University
Succeeded by
Roberto Ruozi
Preceded by
Giovanni Spadolini
President of Bocconi University
Civic offices
Preceded by
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Succeeded by
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Political offices
Preceded by
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Antonio Ruberti
European Commissioner from Italy
Served alongside: Emma Bonino, Romano Prodi
Succeeded by
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Preceded by
Raniero Vanni d'Archirafi
European Commissioner for Internal Market, Services,
Customs and Taxation

Succeeded by
Frits Bolkestein
Preceded by
Karel Van Miert
European Commissioner for Competition
Succeeded by
Neelie Kroes
Preceded by
Giulio Tremonti
Minister of Economy and Finances
Succeeded by
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Preceded by
Silvio Berlusconi
Prime Minister of Italy
Succeeded by
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Preceded by
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Party political offices
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President of Civic Choice
Succeeded by
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