1 giugno 1995
Financial Times (pag.3, photo Emma Bonino)
SOMMARIO. Ritratto della Commissaria europea che sta affrontando il problema di rendere facile al consumatore europeo il passaggio all'Ecu. Bonino è piena di idee e si muove anche per mettere a disposizione di queste idee il denaro necessario a realizzarle.
Mrs Emma Bonino will be a mixture of secret weapon and loose cannon in the forthcoming European Commission campaign to sell the new European currency to a sceptical public, writes Lionel Barber in Brussels.
A plain speaker, the Italian commissioner for consumer affairs has the advantage of speaking the language of the street, and is determined that economic and monetary union does not become an elitist enterprise run for the benefit of the banks and multinationals.
"My point of departure is my mother," she says. "She is 77, she does not travel abroad, and she does not use a credit card. She rents an apartment, and she pays gas, electricity and water bills. Somebody has to tell her that her life won't change."
Mrs Bonino bubbles with ideas for preparing public opinion for Emu. "We need to educate children at school. We could have monopoly games called the Ecu. We need national television campaigns." She She also wants "double-pricing" displays in shops so that consumers can retain their sense of price.
Were will the money for the Emu campaign come from? Mrs Bonino says her Ecu19m (15.6m) annual budget is too small to cope: national governments must contribute (though not necessarily those which fail to make the advance guard moving to Emu in 1999).
"Policy without money is not good," says the former Italian MEP. "But money without politics is a disaster."
On one matter she is adamant. There should be no surrender to German pressure to drop the Ecu as the name for the new currency in favour of the Franken or the Franc. "Ecu is neutral, it is not linked to any particular country," she says. "To change the name would be like changing party two weeks before election day."