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Super Mario prepares to rescue Italy

Super Mario prepares to rescue Italy
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With no experience of government Mario Monti is widely seen as best placed to deal with the tangled web that is Italian politics.

A respected pro-European economist with connections at the top levels of European policy making, Monti has been seen for months by some as the man who could pass vital reforms before elections in 2013.

During his years in Brussels when Romano Prodi presided over the European Commission, Monti earned a reputation as a tough Competition Comissioner. He was a no-nonsense negotiator with a record of taking on powerful corporate interests.

Between 1995 and 1999, he was the European Internal Markets Commissioner in the Commission led by Jacques Santer.

According to one analyst, Monti often accurately reflects the frustrations felt over Italy’s political class because he has his finger on the pulse.

Paul Taylor is European Affairs Editor for Reuters:

“He’s steely, determined, soft-spoken, persuasive. He’s the ultimate networker. He is really, if you like, Davos man. He’s a member of all those inner circles around the world where the power elites meet and he’s highly regarded in those circles.”

Few question Monti’s credentials as a top level European policy maker. But his strengths at striking deals and garnering support are likely to be severely tested by some of the structural reforms to labour market rules and pensions that have already run into opposition from trade unions.