Europe should look beyond the influence of member states and start to recognize the value of regional authorities, according to the president of one of Italy’s most economically powerful regions.
It comes at a time when the European Commission, the executive arm of the European Union, is at loggerheads with the euro zone’s third-largest economy.
“I am worried by the way Europe is solving issues,” Attilio Fontana, president of the Lombardy region in northern Italy, told CNBC’s Julianna Tatelbaum on Thursday.
“Europe has a big value and it can become a big resource and it is fundamental for our region. But, it needs to be pay more attention to the needs of regions, it needs to look more carefully at the changes in the world and it needs to be less bureaucratic and less oriented to the needs of a single part.”
Late last month, the European Commission warned that Italy was facing excessive economic imbalances, with the policies of its euroskeptic and populist coalition government posing a threat to other euro zone countries.
In an unprecedented standoff, the Commission rejected Italy’s initial 2019 draft budget in October, arguing the proposals would have increased borrowing in order to cover election promises.
Rome and the Commission eventually reached a compromise over the deficit but it was based on an economic growth projection of 1.2 percent. Last month, the executive arm revised that down to 0.2 percent.
Speaking to CNBC on Thursday, Lombardy’s Fontana — a Lega lawmaker, known for his hard-line anti-migrant views — said: “Europe should in future focus more on regions than on member states.”
“Europe should give more powers to local authorities,” he added.