By Marianne Arens:
Italian prime minister to cut additional €26 billion
10 July 2012
“Spending review” is the term given by Italian premier Mario Monti to his latest austerity package agreed by his government last week. The state budget is to be cut by a further €26 billion over the next two years.
Public spending is to be reduced by an additional €4.5 billion by the end of this year. In the spring pensions had already been drastically cut, while consumer prices and taxes were raised.
The latest official figures published by the statistical government agency Istat (May 2012) show an increase in youth unemployment (15 to 24 year-olds) to a staggering 36.2 percent. At the same time, living costs for an average family went up by almost €2,500 per year, according to the reports of two consumer organisations a few days ago.
In 2013 the state budget will be reduced by a further €10.5 billion and in 2014 once again by more than €11 billion. In September 2013, VAT will go up from 21 to 23 percent, putting additional strains on working class and low-income families.
Ten percent of jobs in the public service will be slashed. For every five state employees that retire, only one will be replaced. This will hit the public health sector particularly hard; the closure of 150 hospitals and the axing of 80,000 hospital beds are under discussion. …
More than 3,000 organizations, administrative offices and partly state-run enterprises will be cut. In the Emilia Romagna, for example, this will affect over 360 organizations.
The Emilia Romagna region is hit particularly hard by Monti’s “spending review” policy, because it was struck by the worst earthquake in its history only a few weeks ago. In this area alone 6,500 jobs of medical doctors, nurses and social workers will be slashed, and 4,000 hospital beds eliminated.
The austerity package aims to fulfil the conditions of the European fiscal pact even before the Italian government has approved it. Monti once again called on the members of parliament to agree to the fiscal pact and the European stabilization mechanism (ESM) before the end of July. He referred to his “success” at the latest EU summit in Brussels. (See “EU summit measures mean deeper attacks on the working class”)
The Monti government was not democratically elected. It is a government of big business and the banks. It was put into power in November 2011 by the president of the state, 87-year-old ex-Communist Party member Giorgio Napolitano, following pressure from the financial markets. Ever since, Monti has systematically worked to dismantle all the post-war gains of the working class and ensure that they bear the costs of the banking crisis.
The new austerity package is to be put to parliament on July 31.
Credit ratings agency Moody’s downgraded Italy’s government debt yesterday to just two notches above junk status: here.
Unelected Italian Premier Mario Monti said today that he’s “gravely concerned” that Italy’s autonomous region of Sicily may soon be forced to default on its debts: here.
Eurozone finance ministers meeting in Brussels agreed the terms of a bailout for Spain’s crisis-hit banks today: here.
Rajoy reveals more austerity pain for Spain: here.