Monti, Mario

(1943– )
   Born in Varese near the border of Lombardy with Switzerland, Mario Monti has enjoyed a distinguished career as an economist, a university administrator, and a European commissioner. Monti’s academic career mostly took place at the University of Turinand at the Bocconi University in Milan, a private school that specializes in the social sciences and in preparing business leaders. In 1985, he became professor at the Bocconi and between 1989 and 1994 was the university’s rector. He became president of the Bocconi in 1994. In the 1980s, Monti was called upon to serve on numerous parliamentary and government committees of inquiry, most notably the Spaventa Commission on the national debt and public finances (1988–1989). The combination of his academic reputation and public service led to his being nominated to the European Commission by the first government of Silvio Berlusconi in 1994. He took over as commissioner responsible for the internal market, financial services, customs, and tax questions in January 1995. In 1999, he was named to the crucial post of Competition, responsible for approving or blocking mergers throughout the European Union (EU) and monitoring monopolistic behavior within the internal market. This role gave Monti a high public profile since he was called upon to adjudicate in a large number of prominent cases, most notably the decision to fine Microsoft for uncompetitive behavior. His successful handling of the job won him the nickname, “Super Mario.”
   The second Berlusconi government, for internal political reasons, did not renew Monti’s seat on the Commission in 2004, preferring Rocco Buttiglione. Monti is one of the founding members of Bruegel, a think tank on policy making in the EU, and a regular commentator in Italian and other European newspapers. It is widely thought that Monti could emerge as prime minister in the future. Like Lamberto Dini in the 1990s, he is respected by both the left and the right in Italian politics.
   See also European Integration.

Historical Dictionary of Modern Italy. . 2007.

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