News / Europe

Italian Political Gridlock Threatens Euro

Italian Political Gridlock Threatens Euroi
X
March 06, 2013 3:29 PM
Italy is in a political deadlock following an election late last month that left parliament divided almost equally among three factions. Meanwhile, the country’s economic crisis continues, threatening the stability of the euro zone. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from Rome.
Al Pessin
Italy is in a political deadlock following an election late last month that left parliament divided almost equally among three factions.  Meanwhile, the country’s economic crisis continues, threatening the stability of the eurozone.

Italians surprised the world, and perhaps themselves - splitting their vote among disgraced former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, a center-left coalition and a protest movement led by a former comedian.  The current prime minister, an economist praised by the international community, got only 10 percent of the vote.

Retired couple Gabriella Magini and Mario Pezzella were as surprised as anyone.  They worry about their finances, and even more about their grandchildren.

“If I think of the future, I’m not terribly optimistic, no.  I think uneasiness is the most spread out feeling all over Italy,” she said.

And there is good reason for concern.  Unemployment is nearly 12 percent.  Italy has had virtually no economic growth for more than 10 years.  It struggles to pay the interest on its huge debt and it needs extensive reforms to make it competitive again.  And now, the parliament is deadlocked.

“This is, I think, the worst outcome, the worst scenario that we could have hoped for," said economics professor Nicola Borri.

He says even if a government is formed it will not have the power to take the necessary steps to revive the Italian economy and end talk of a collapse of the 17-nation euro system.

“We could find ourselves in a situation in which it’s really hard, politically, to service our debt.  And, you know if Italy decides not to service its debt anymore, I think that the euro zone is over,” said the professor.

European leaders are determined not to let that happen.  And at least one longtime Italian analyst, Andrea Margelletti, believes his country will get through this economic, and now also political, crisis.

“We have to study the results and to find a good, I may say, way to find an ‘Italian Solution,” he said.

Such optimism does not impress Professor Borri.

“When we say ‘Italian Solution,’ we mean some agreement that doesn’t deliver any reforms.  So, if that is an ‘Italian Solution,’ personally, I don’t like it.” he said.

And neither do Gabriella and Mario, who have seen their pensions frozen while prices go up, squeezing even relatively well-off people like them.

“It has been an awful surprise for us, for the majority of people,” said Gabriella.

“I hope in the future.  I think the Italian people are so strong, so intelligent, to solve the crisis,” said Mario.

But that is more difficult than ever now, with a paralyzed parliament.  No one expects much progress at least until after new elections, which could come before the end of the year.

You May Like

Republican Majority in Congress Off to Rough Start

Standoff over Homeland Security funding exposes philosophical, tactical problems within party More

Pakistan Blocks Baloch Activist from US Trip

Human Rights Commission of Pakistan slams Islamabad officials for stopping people from leaving country to attend human rights conference More

Video Muslims Long Thrived in North Carolina Before Students Killed

Idyll shattered February 10, when three Muslim university students living in Chapel Hill were gunned down by a neighbor More

ILO: Women Still Losing Out in Global Work Place

International Labor Organization says women are marginally better off now than they were 20 years ago More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Muslims Long Thrived in N Carolina Before Slaying of 3 Studentsi
X
Jerome Socolovsky
March 05, 2015 9:04 PM
The killings of three Muslim students in North Carolina early last month came as Muslims across the United States have felt under siege, partly as a result of terrorist attacks being committed internationally in the name of their faith. But Muslims have long thrived in university cities in this part of the American South. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Muslims Long Thrived in N Carolina Before Slaying of 3 Students

The killings of three Muslim students in North Carolina early last month came as Muslims across the United States have felt under siege, partly as a result of terrorist attacks being committed internationally in the name of their faith. But Muslims have long thrived in university cities in this part of the American South. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Fuel Shortages in Nigeria Threaten Election Campaigns

Nigeria is suffering a gas shortage as the falling oil price has affected the country’s ability to import and distribute refined fuels. Coming just weeks before scheduled March 28 elections, the shortage could have a big impact on the campaign, as Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA.
Video

Video Report: Human Rights in Annexed Crimea Deteriorating

A new report by Freedom House and the Atlantic Council of the United States says the human rights situation in Crimea has deteriorated since the peninsula was annexed by Russia in March of last year. The report says the new authorities in Crimea are discriminating against minorities, suppressing freedom of expression, and forcing residents to assume Russian citizenship or leave. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video 50 Years Later African-Americans See New Voting Rights Battles Ahead

Thousands of people will gather to mark the 50th anniversary of a historic civil rights march on March 7th in Selma, Alabama. In 1965, dozens of people were seriously injured during the event known as “Bloody Sunday,” after police attacked African-American demonstrators demanding voting rights. VOA’s Chris Simkins introduces us to some civil rights pioneers who are still fighting for voting rights in Alabama more than 50 years later.
Video

Video Craft Brewers Taking Hold in US Beer Market

Since the 1950’s, the U.S. beer industry has been dominated by a handful of huge breweries. But in recent years, the rapid rise of small craft breweries has changed the American market and, arguably, the way people drink beer. VOA’s Jeff Custer reports.
Video

Video Video Claims to Show Shia Forces in Iraq Executing Sunni Boy

A graphic mobile phone video is spreading on the Internet, claiming to show Iraqi forces or Shia militia executing a handcuffed Sunni boy. Experts have yet to verify the video, but already Islamic State followers are publicizing it across social media, playing on deep-rooted sectarian fears. VOA’s Jeff Seldin reports.
Video

Video Ukrainian Authorities Struggle to Secure a Divided Mariupol

Since last month's cease-fire went into effect, shelling around the port city of Mariupol has decreased, but it is thought pro-Russian separatists remain poised to attack. For the city’s authorities, a major challenge is gaining the trust of residents, while at the same time rooting out informants who are passing sensitive information to the rebels. Patrick Wells reports for VOA.
Video

Video Volunteer Gauge-Watchers Help Fine-Tune Weather Science

An observation system called CoCoRaHS is working to improve weather science, thanks to thousands of volunteers across the country who measure precipitation in their own backyards, then share their data through the Internet. VOA's Shelley Schlender reports.
Video

Video NASA Spacecraft Approaches a Dwarf Planet

NASA’s Dawn spacecraft will make history on Friday, March 6, when it becomes the first man-made object to orbit a dwarf planet named Ceres. It is located in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter, almost 500 million kilometers from Earth. Among other objectives, Dawn will try to examine two mysterious bright white spots detected on the planet’s surface. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Muslims Radicalized Online

Young Muslims are being radicalized ‘in their bedrooms’ through direct contact with Islamic State or ISIL fighters via the Internet, according to terror experts. There are growing concerns that authorities and Internet providers are not doing enough to counter online extremism - which analysts say is spread by a prolific network of online supporters around the world. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Positive Messaging Transforms Ethiopia's Image

Ethiopia was once known for famine and droughts. Now, headlines more often point to its fast-growing economy and its emergence as a regional peacemaker. How has Addis Ababa changed the narrative? VOA's Marthe van der Wolf reports.
Video

Video Answers Elude Families of MH370 Passengers

For the families on board Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, an airline official’s statement nearly one year ago that the plane had lost contact with air traffic control at 2:40 AM is the only thing that remains confirmed. William Ide reports.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More