Thousands of workers and unemployed people marched in Rome on Saturday to protest against record unemployment and call on Enrico Letta's two-month-old government to deliver more than empty rhetoric on the issue.
The rally, organized by the country's three largest unions was the first major protest since Letta's broad, left-right coalition took office following an inconclusive election in February.
Italian unemployment rose to 12% in April, the highest level on record, and joblessness among people under 24 is at an all-time high above 40%.
Union chiefs, speaking before a flag-waving crowd estimated at more than 100,000 by the organizers, criticized Letta for what they called a lack of action on an urgent problem.
"We can't accept these continuous promises that aren't translated into decisions that give a change of direction," said Susanna Camusso, leader of the country's largest union CGIL.
Luigi Angeletti, head of the UIL, said the country could not afford the piecemeal approach to policy adopted so far, especially when the ruling coalition is so fragile...The unionists called on the government to intervene to prevent plans by white-goods manufacturer Indesit to lay off 1,400 workers in one of the most recent labor disputes....
Big deficits in time of recession are nothing new. They are not desirable, but calling them "dangerous" is ridiculous. The only way to reduce them is through growth, which isn't going to happen with taking so much money out of the economy. Growth has got its own problems, I don't think a society can run for ever on people/states buying stuff they don't really need with money they have really got, but the present "solution" isn't going to work. It is indiscriminate cutting, with no thought for the cost this "cutting" is storing up for the future. The present crew hasn't got the skills, imagination, intelligence to think out of their narrow ideology. They still think putting state services to tender to private businesses is going to solve all. It isn't....
Mediobanca, Italy’s second biggest bank, said its “index of solvency risk” for Italy was already flashing warning signs as the worldwide bond rout continued into a second week, pushing up borrowing costs.“Time is running out fast,” said Mediobanca’s top analyst, Antonio Guglielmi, in a confidential client note. “The Italian macro situation has not improved over the last quarter, rather the contrary. Some 160 large corporates in Italy are now in special crisis administration.” The report warned that Italy will “inevitably end up in an EU bail-out request” over the next six months, unless it can count on low borrowing costs and a broader recovery. Emphasizing the gravity of the situation, it compared the crisis with when the country was blown out of the Exchange Rate Mechanism in 1992 despite drastic austerity measures.
Italy’s €2.1 trillion (£1.8 trillion) debt is the world’s third largest after the US and Japan. Any serious stress in its debt markets threatens to reignite the eurozone crisis. This may already have begun after the US Federal Reserve signaled last week that it will begin to drain dollar liquidity from the global system.