Angolo del Gigio

febbraio 26, 2007

Berlusconi legacy cracks Prodi’s resolve – Financial Time

Filed under: Allam'atriciana, Berlusconi, Blogroll, Forza Italia, Italia, Libertà, P2, Politica Italiana, Uncategorized — Italiano Liberale @ 12:18 am

L’eredità distruttiva di Belusconi spezza il risanamento di Prodi

By Tony Barber in Rome

Romano Prodi’s resignation last night as Italy’s premier came at a critical moment for the nation’s economy, its foreign policy and its never entirely convincing efforts to construct a stable, bipolar political system.

Mr Prodi, who held office for nine months, dedicated his government to the tasks of boosting Italian economic growth and competitiveness and strengthening Italy’s credibility as a responsible European power on the world stage.

A third ambition was to forge the disparate political forces that helped him win last April’s general election into a coherent alliance that would guarantee the Italian centre-left regular and long spells in government.

Silvio Berlusconi, the former premier, and his -centre-right opposition -contended all along that Mr Prodi’s government was doomed to collapse because of unresolved tensions between moderates and -radical leftists in the ruling coalition.

But it was also, to some extent, the difficult legacy that Mr Berlusconi bequeathed the government in economic and foreign policy that explains why the tensions in Mr Prodi’s nine-party coalition were finally strained to breaking point.

_-Ma era inoltre, in parte, l’eredità difficile che il sig. Berlusconi ha lasciato per testamento al governo Italiano nella politica economica e straniera che spiega il perchè delle tensioni nella coalizione dei nove-partiti del sig. Prodi fino ad arrivare ad un punto di rottura.

Under Mr Berlusconi, Italy’s public debt – already well over 100 per cent of gross domestic product – began rising for the first time since 1994, while the budget deficit climbed above 3 per cent of GDP.

_-Sotto il sig. Berlusconi, il debito pubblico dell’Italia – già bene oltre 100 per cento del prodotto interno lordo – ha cominciato ad aumentare per la prima volta dal 1994, mentre il disavanzo del bilancio è salito oltre il 3% del P.I.L.

Economic growth, meanwhile, slumped to an annual average of 0.6 per cent of GDP over Mr Berlusconi’s five-year term from June 2001 to May last year, placing Italy among the slowest-growing countries in the European Union.

_-Lo sviluppo economico intanto e crollato ad una media annuale dello 0.6% del P.I.L. durante i 5 anni del Governo Berlusconi, quindi dal Giugno 2001 a Maggio dell’anno scorso piazzando l’Italia fra i paesi con la minor crescita nell’ Unione Europea.

Mr Prodi had no choice but to order immediate action to cut the debt and deficit. But his 2007 budget came under fire for relying too much on tax increases and other revenue-raising measures rather than on public-spending cuts.

This was an early sign of the problems facing Mr Prodi in leading a coalition that stretched from centrist technocrats and free-market liberals to communists and other leftists with an aversion to capitalism.

The 2007 budget, rigorous by the standards of the Berlusconi years, proved too mild to satisfy Standard & Poor’s and Fitch Ratings, two international credit ratings agencies, which downgraded Italy’s debt lastOctober.

Mr Prodi made an encouraging start on long-overdue measures to open Italy’s professions and the services sector to more competition, but he was not in power long enough to tackle reform of the pension and healthcare systems.

For international investors, the question is whether the next government – whether it is led by Mr Prodi, another centre-left leader or even a centre-right politician – would be any better placed to introduce such reforms.

A second Berlusconi legacy was an Italian foreign policy so closely wedded to the aims of the administration of President George W. Bush of the US that Italy sent troops both to Afghanistan and to Iraq after the US-led invasion of 2003.

_-Una seconda eredità di Berlusconi è una politica estera italiana così tanto legata e impastata con gli obiettivi della gestione del presidente George W. Bush e degli Stati Uniti che l’Italia a mandato truppe sia nell’Afghanistan che in Iraq dopo l’invasione condotta dagli Stati Uniti di 2003.

Mr Prodi pulled Italian forces out of Iraq but he wanted to keep the 1,900-strong Italian contingent in Afghanistan, arguing that this mission had far greater legitimacy because it involved Nato and had United Nations blessing.

_-Il sig. Prodi ha ritirato le forze italiane dall’Iraq ma ha preferito  mantenere un contingente italiano forte di 1.900 soldati nell’Afghanistan, sostenendo che questa missione ha legittimità ben più grande perché voluta dalla NATO e ha la benedizione delle Nazioni Unite.

His argument did not convince his coalition’s communist and pacifist members. Their hostility to the Afghan mission, and to the planned expansion of a US military base in northern Italy, lay behind Mr Prodi’s parliamentary defeat yesterday and his almost instantresignation.

Whether the centre-left can pick up the pieces is uncertain. “The [centre-left] majority has two duties: to assure the country that it has a credible foreign policy and to serve the country with the majority received from the electorate in order to ward off the the right,” said Francesco Rutelli, deputy prime minister.

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