Italy is still embroiled in a financial crisis—but one that is insufficiently severe to convince the public that reforms are urgently needed, the country's former prime minister told CNBC on Friday.
"The acute emergency that we now have in the real economy, and in the employment situation, is there. It bites deeply into society," Mario Monti, the economist who led an Italian technocrat government between 2011 and 2013, told CNBC from the annual economic Ambrosetti Forum in Italy.
"But of course, it is not so visible as an emergency that brings the whole of public opinion to rally around a tough political project to introduce the structural reforms that are needed to slowly go out of that crisis."
The Italian economy is seen shrinking again this year, after contracting 0.2 percent in the second-quarter.
Unemployment remains above both the euro zone and the Europe-wide average, hitting 12.6 percent in July. The country needs to create 2.5 million new jobs to meet the European Union target of 75 percent employment by 2020, according to Ambrosetti economists.
Despite this, both Monti and his successor Matteo Renzi have struggled to free up Italy's high restrictive labor market. Firms currently lack flexibility in hiring and firing and are inhibited by the practice of nationwide collective bargaining.