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Big businesses call for 'worthy' candidates at EP elections

'If govt opposes austerity dogma, our support will continue'

02 April, 14:42
Big businesses call for 'worthy' candidates at EP elections (ANSA) - Rome, April 2 - The head of Italy's powerful industrial confederation on Wednesday urged the country's political parties to choose candidates "worthy of the task" for upcoming European Parliament elections, vowing to support the government if it continues "to oppose the austerity dogma". In a document destined for top Italian political leaders, Confindustria chief Giorgio Squinzi outlined 10 priorities for a "growth-minded Europe". Brussels needs "the best possible representatives from our country," he said in his call to focus on recovery and turn the page on Italy's deepest recession since World War II, which officially ended late last year but has been followed by tepid growth. The document, he stressed, is meant to "revive the European project" and "respond to the crisis and the feeling of distrust" that is rampant among the Italian electorate. Euroskeptic parties are expected to do well at European Parliament elections May 25 as austerity-weary voters continue to bear the brunt of the sovereign-debt crisis, namely in terms of unemployment, which is at a record 13% in Italy. Italy's anti-establishment 5-Star Movement (M5S) roared to a virtual three-way tie at national elections last year on an anti-austerity ticket.

Meanwhile the regionalist Northern League, as well as France's National Front, have capitalized on a similar message, to great effect at the polls. "Europe must oppose the austerity dogma", aim for growth and promote competition with "greater flexibility in exchange for robust reforms," said Squinzi. "If the government continues in this direction, it will have our support". Squinzi went on to stress the importance of taking EP elections seriously, and not treating them as a "parking lot" for paying back political favors, as they have been in the past.

"These candidates must commit themselves, they must be ever present, and they must manage European issues in the most appropriate way. This is absolutely necessary," he said.

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