Meeting Italian PM Mario Monti in London

I was chuffed when my Senior Producer Rose asked me in to work for the Italian PMs first visit to London since being elected. A lot of details about his visit were obscure till late Monday evening and was to be confirmed only Tuesday, something you start getting used to working in news.

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When events such like these take place you have to be ready for many surprises as the day starts to unfold. At the last minute I hear about his visit to the Financial Times office in Southwark. I rushed with the camera crew, not many of the other media were there as this was not officially listed on the Italian government website

A lot about covering events like these is ensuring you are on top of your logistics, building entrances etc. Assumptions just don’t work. I had to make sure we were at the right place and not some back entrance, to film the first shots of his arrival.We managed to get hold of the Italian embassy press officer with only a few minutes to go, who confirmed details of filming access. I heard about a 20 minute delay in his arrival, and my feet were numb in the cold.

So what was Monti here for and what was he going to discuss? In the wake of what happened to the Costa Concordia that submerged in Giglio, I wondered if that would come up in the press conference, and right enough it did. Monti’s response to Costa Concordia sinking was ‘This could not and should not have happened”

He was here to reassure Britain to explain what they are doing to assure their finances are back on track. Since being elected, a lot of what he plans to do is tackle tax evasion and organised crime which is impacting the money flow within the country. With more regulations in place for borrowing many people have now turned to borrowing from mafia controlled private operators which is further digging a hole to the Italian economy.

At London Stock Exchange he is then heard saying ‘ We expect a shift in the mentality of tax payers and in the behaviour of tax payers in Italy. Growth is key.’

How much of this can be tackled? Much of the situation he is in reminds me of the time Obama took over from Bush and how he continues to battle it out every day still trying to undo all the damage Bush has done over the many years. However in this situation , its trying to turn around Berlusconi’s mess.

I was not up to speed with details of the other events at London School of Economics and the Stock Exchange but while I was in Houghton Street at the School of economics heard a group of protesters fighting against Montis plan to force through 33billion Euros of Cuts saying similar cuts have devastated the greek economy.

I had to rush back with my tapes and was hoping not to be stuck in traffic again. Back in the office I was reliant on twitter, and local feeds closely following his programme for the rest of the evening. Its too soon to say anything since its only two months since he has been in power. Speaking to most Italians they do feel that he has saved the ship from sinking further, only time will tell.


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