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Questo articolo è stato pubblicato il 28 dicembre 2011 alle ore 12:58.


How is this possible? We approved a significant budget package (mostly fiscal), we decided to bring forward to 2013 the balanced budget, we carried out a historical pension reform that has become the example to follow in all of Europe (including Germany) and we threw some important seeds to for growth to pick up again.

In short we did our homework well but the earthquake (10-year BTps and German Bunds spread) is always there, showing a high fever for Italy despite the strong remedy. Something is missing. Was it better to keep a paralyzed political government? Is the government of professors good in theory and not in practice? This Europe is suffocating us, should we kick it away?

There are different way to analyze why the spread is still at the "500 threshold" (and beyond, which means a 10-year BTp yield around 7%) while between today and tomorrow 20 billion public bonds will be auctioned.

The first, between a wink of the eye and a post-budget political survey, is pretending not to understand what would have happened without the cure. The patient, even the strongest, would simply have died. The counterfactual analysis Bank of Italy Governor Ignazio Visco carried out on Il Sole 24 Ore on Christmas Eve on this point was clear and unequivocal. As Mario Monti said, the County was collapsing to the point of risking not being able to pay public salaries. No one of the previous government, starting from Silvio Berlusconi and Giulio Tremonti, denied this. It is a sign that it was true.

It was equally clear that Italy (on which at the end of the day the destiny of the euro and of Europe hinges on, as the Washington Post wrote yesterday) would have remained, even with the new government, under "special surveillance" in a Europe that is disoriented, short of leadership and under pressure by markets that do not see on the horizon a solution to the sovereign debt crisis. We wrote this, and facts proved us right. We have the third largest debt in the world and it could be convenient for Countries that historically are more "virtuous", today undergoing difficulties, to point the finger against Italy.

The fact the spread continues to hover around the "500 threshold" also means this and it is better to look at reality for what it really is and not for what we would like it to be. It could be upsetting, but it is a fact.

Overturning this reasoning and at the same time defending the coherence of homework requires great effort from our Country: from the government, obviously, but also from the majority that supports it in Parliament and by social parties A commitment on two fronts: in Italy and in Europe.

There is only one way: to come out of the crisis, public accounts have to be in order and there has to be growth. The Government gave a very strong shake in terms of taxes and just started setting up the conditions for development. Now we have to push with just as much strength on growth, using as a compass exactly what Professor Monti said last May: less entry barriers, less privileges and profits for insiders, more entry possibilities for outsiders and young people, more room for merit and competition. In short, a more competitive economy, a more open society, which includes more people and that is fairer.

There is little time, if any time at all, and it is surprising that within the government majority there is a growing number of nuances, precisely in light of the spread at the "500 threshold". As if we already forgot that we reached this alarm level because of the paralysis of politics and as if there were an alternative solution at hand. There is no different solution (a less rigorous rigor? Re-opening the pensions chapter, as unions ask?). Rather it would be better to keep an eye on the public debt auctions of the next few months. Between February and March one hundred billion of public bonds have to be sold giving us today the only possible prospect, even though it is short and uncomfortable.

Also for Europe there is only one way. For the part that it can carry out, Italy can only be favorable to a real turn around, political in the federal sense, also in Brussels. The fiscal union, of public accounts in order, alone is not enough, just like the measures of the ECB, useful also if they remain within the limits that it is allowed, give back breathing room to the economy through an incredible injection of liquidity to banks, which continue not to trust one another since they would rather deposit more than 400 billion (at an interest rate of just 0.25%) in the Eurotower rather than making the interbank market flow. Intergovernmental accords, an ECB with its hands tied and a Eurozone without Eurobonds do not resolve the sovereign debt crisis. Markets know it and give no discount; to anyone.
(Translated by Yael Schrage)

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