'We are losing competitiveness' in the EU, former Italian Prime Minister Letta says

I had the sense that the sense of urgency is there, is completely shared by the leaders. I presented the report to the European Council. We had two hours discussions. The discussion was very interesting and very, I would say in depth. But you know, for me, the most important part of this exercise was my journey around Europe. 400 meetings, 65 cities, big cities, peripheric areas, all the member states. I had the feeling that there's room to improve and there's awareness of the fact that we are losing ground, we are losing competitiveness, we are lagging behind, but we have the single market and the integration of the single market where it is not integrated. Financial services, telecom, energy and this idea of how to boost on innovation, research, skills, knowledge. I think there's room to improve and the momentum is there because after the legislature of the crisis and the reactions to crisis, the need today to have actions instead of reactions, I think is completely shared. So then I would like to get your thoughts on the question about CMU having potentially bigger banks in Europe, because there's been recently discussions in Spain about BBVA and Bacos Avadel and then the Spanish Ministry for Economy has said that this actually wouldn't be good for Spain. What's the problem here? You're suggesting that we need bigger companies on the continent. Why are then the government saying no? Just potential mergers. You know, the the the key problem in the European Space is the fact that Europe is a fantastic mix between big and small. The combination between the two is always an evolution. The small of yesterday would be the same, small of tomorrow. It is the big of yesterday that has to be bigger because the big of yesterday was enough for the world where China and India were 4% of the world GDP together. Today China and India are 25% of the world GDP. So the big of yesterday, the big of today to become bigger. This is why I think on the three main subject that I focused financial services, telecom, energy, we have to move from 27 markets to one single market and this is the point. So I don't want to blame the antitrust authorities, I blame the fact that we don't have a single market on these topics. We need to have a single market on telecom is the only way to move from 100 operators, small operators, fragmented, non competitive enough, 2 reduced number of operators, not three like in the US. Obviously it's not, it's not the right way, 3 operators in a continent of 450 million people. I think consumers can be very happy, but we can have a sort of how we say in Latin, they say it's in Medus that Virtus, so something similar to 20 or 30, you can scale and at the same time you can protect consumers and we have to do so. So in the financial markets, the remedy is very clear. Your solutions are very clear. I totally understand what you're saying. But the question is, is there willingness then to actually take these steps? It depends on the sectors. If you ask me where I feel there's more goodwill to say on telecom, I see momentum today. The white paper presented by the Commission some weeks ago, I think Draghi's report will say similar things in the same direction. And it is so clear that on telecom, the fragmentation, industrial fragmentation of the market is not positive for Europe. So I think on telecom, goodwill is there. On energy, the big problem is are the connections and we need a boost, a push from Brussels from Europe on energy. Also other topics related to interconnection transports can tell you that my journey around Europe I was supposed to travel by high speed train. By definition, Europe is the smallest continent in the world. We decided to go green and we can't travel by high speed train capital by capital. In Europe only Paris, Brussels, Amsterdam. It's crazy, it's crazy. And my experience during this journey became for me also a big symbol, an emblematic image of the problem of the single market. Because you travelled by ISP train within Spain, within Italy, within Germany, within France, but you can't join the different capitals. This is the typical problem of the single market and energy is the same. We lacked the interconnections among countries, so the need of the boost, the push from Brussels there is absolutely necessary. The bilateral agreement are not enough. But the main problem and I think there I see obstacles and This is why I I rolled this flag as the most important one is the financial services.

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