Italy: whatever happened to PM Renzi’s anti-austerity commmitment?

Matteo RenziOne year after PM Renzi came to power and three governments since Berlusconi, Italy is still depressed, thanks to unending austerity programmes, writes Leopoldo Nascia (translated from the original Italian by Tom Gill)

Seven years of crisis and three and half years of the political shocks they have brought, in succession, the governments Mario Monti, Enrico Letta and Matteo Renzi and have failed to pull Italy out of its depression. Austerity policies imposed by the European Union remain central to Italy’s economic policy, remain the rule despite the rapid changes at the PM’s offical resident in Rome’s Palazzo Chigi. Continue reading

The honeymoon is over for Italian PM Mateo Renzi

Matteo RenziThousands took to the streets of Milan and other cities on Friday in the first of union-led protests that will culminate in a general strike next month. At issue is the government’s labour counter-reforms that will make it easier for firms to fire workers, adding to the growing ranks of the precariat in the Eurozone’s third largest economy.

The protests came as new new figures released Friday showed the country had entered its third recession since the great financial crash of 2008, a further blow in a country suffering from record unemployment. Continue reading

EU, the Grand Coalition and austerity. Where does Italy’s Renzi stand?

renzi-merkel-baraldiThe choice of Juncker as the next president of the European Commission is in total continuity with the harmful policies of rigor imposed in recent years by the Troika. The Italian prime minister on the one hand seems to beat his fists against the diktats of Berlin, on the other hand make us believe – mistakenly – that more flexibility in the Stability Pact is enough to improve the situation. There will only be a break with destructive austerity if Matteo Renzi acquires courage and awareness of the impossibility of proceeding with the current rules

Failing improbable twists and gentlemen, the Christian Democrat of Luxembourg Jean-Claude Juncker will be the next president of the European Commission. The appointment, to be confirmed by the European parliament 15 July, took place on 28 June at the end of the European Council, with Hungary and much more seriously, Great Britain voting against.

Juncker as president of the Commission will not be good news. And certainly not for the reason maliciously advanced by the British tabloid the Sun, and promptly repurposed by the German equivalent Bild, which is the presumed nominee for President has an inclination for alcohol. Continue reading

The plot to topple Berlusconi

Berlusconi says farewell1Much as many were relieved to see the back of Silvio Berlusconi as Italy’s PM during the height of the Eurozone crisis in 2011, the revelations by Tim Geithner should have all democrats including those on the Left deeply worried. EU officials approached the former US Treasury Secretary in November of that year with a plan to overthrow the billionaire media magnate, Geithner recounts in his new published book Stress Test: Reflections on Financial Crises.

They wanted us to refuse to back IMF loans to Italy as long as he refused to go,” he writes. Geithner told the conspiring Eurocrats them there was no question of obliging. Although the US has quite a record of overthrowing elected governments, in this case he said that much as it might be desirable: “We can’t have his blood on our hands”. Continue reading

Blairites, Valls and Renzi, offer little hope for Eurozone

reddish Euro flagValls and Renzi, the new prime ministers of France and Italy respectively, have made clear their respect for Blair and their intention to follow his example. That’s bad news for the Eurozone and for the EU in general. Blairism is not an economic ideology, but rather a style of leadership that is far more about presentation than substance. So far from representing any new economic ideas, it swallowed the existing free markets capitalist fundamentalism hook, line and sinker. That’s why following the Blairite line in France and Italy, both countries in deep economic difficulty, is likely to be so self-destructive. Continue reading