Pride and Prejudice in Italy’s Budget Battle with Brussels

A student rebellion in surprising quarters broke out today in Italy and will continue until Sunday evening. Ahead of the European Commission’s judgement on Italy’s 2015 budgetary plan on Monday, the Italian Finance ministry has launched a twitter campaign, hashtag #prideandprejudice, which intends to demonstrate Italy’s merits with regard to public spending as well as ‘fighting prejudice and representing a country to be proud of’.

In the first instalment of what will be a daily campaign of self-sponsorship, the Italian government tweeted a graph comparing EU states’ primary surplus.

Pier Carlo Padoan, the Italian Finance Minister said he was ‘pretty fed up of being told by eminent colleague ministers that we have to demonstrate that we know how to spend money and not to ask the EU for money…I expect that our qualitative efforts concerning public expenditure and structural reforms, which are strongly complementary to the Budgetary Plan, will be recognised”.

The six day campaign will highlight ‘…Italy’s virtues on the international economic scene’ and is likely to include data on the speed of public debt growth as well as the deficit/GDP ratio.

‘Italy is often judged in the International community on the basis of a series of negative indicators but alongside these there is an economic greatness which represents Italy as what it is; one of the main countries in the developed world, the second largest manufacturer in Europe and the third largest economy in Europe. A country that has proved in the last twenty years that it knows how to keep its expenditure under control and is one of the most virtuous in Europe and the world’.

Jyrki Katainen, the EU Commissioner for Economic and Financial Affairs, has expressed concerns over Italy’s use of EU funds, the delays in privatising state companies and the implementation of the spending review and we will find out on Monday whether the Italian government’s campaign will be sufficient to overcome the prejudice in Brussels.

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War of Words between Barroso and Renzi

Renzi is still pumped up from his success at the European elections and yesterday upped the ante in his posturing with the European Commission. In light of the never-ending recession and the increase in anti-EU/euro sentiment, he can play the tough guy with Barroso while gaining consensus in Italy.

The first part of the banal trap was to consign an improbable budget to Brussels. The second part kicked into action with a vengeance yesterday, as Renzi published the ‘strictly confidential’ letter he had received from the Commission’s economic chief Jyrki Katainen. The publication was combined with a smear campaign that Barroso described as ‘absolutely false, surreal, having nothing to do with reality’.

Here’s the letter;
STRICTLY CONFIDENTIAL

Dear Minister,

First and foremost, I would like to thank you for the submission of Italy’s Draft Budgetary Plan (DBP) for 2015, which we received on 15 October and complementary tables on 16 October. I am also grateful for the letter accompanying the DBP and which clearly makes the case that the budgetary strategy of Italy is to be considered within the overall agenda for structural reform.Compared to the 2014 Stability Programme, Italy’s DBP postpones the achievement of the MTO to 2017 and slows down the reduction of the debt-to-GDP ratio in the coming years. As a result, the DBP plans to breach Italy’s requirements under the preventive arm of the Stability and Growth Pact (SGP).According to our preliminary analysis – on the basis of the recalculation by the Commission services using the commonly agreed methodology – Italy plans a significant deviation from the required adjustment path towards its medium-term budgetary objective (MTO) in 2015 based on the planned change in the structural balance. Moreover, the planned change in the structural balance for 2015 would also fall short of the change required to ensure adherence to the transition debt rule, since this requirement is even more stringent than the required adjustment path towards the MTO. Against this background, further exchanges of information have already taken place between your services and the Commission.In line with the provisions of Article 7(2) of Regulation (EU) No 473/2013 of 21 May 2013, I am writing to consult you on the reasons why Italy plans non-compliance with the SGP in 2015. I would also wish to know how Italy could ensure full compliance with its budgetary policy obligations under the SGP for 2015.

The Commission seeks to continue a constructive dialogue with Italy with the view to come to a final assessment. I would therefore welcome your view at your earliest convenience and if possible by 24 October. This would allow the Commission to take into account Italy’s views in the further procedure.

Yours Sincerely,

Barroso expressed his annoyance at the publication of this letter and Renzi could barely contain his glee. In Brussels, while European ministers waited for him inside, Renzi put phase three of his cunning plan into action.

“I’m surprised that President Barroso is surprised that we published the letter and I believe we will publish not only the letter but all the economic data pertaining to how much is spent in these buildings. It will be a lot of fun…I think the moment for total transparency has arrived. The days of secret letters are over. With Italy, open data will be total. We want everything to be clear with Brussels, also because it is the only way for citizens to understand. It’s just the beginning. Turning over a new leaf, after next week [under Jean-Claude Juncker], we ask that any sensitive data that commission sends should be published”.

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Italy’s 2015 Budget Plan Slammed by EU

JYRKI KATAINENVICE-PRESIDENT OF THE EUROPEAN COMMISSION.

STRICTLY CONFIDENTIAL

Dear Minister,First and foremost, I would like to thank you for the submission of Italy’s Draft Budgetary Plan (DBP) for 2015, which we received on 15 October and complementary tables on 16 October. I am also grateful for the letter accompanying the DBP and which clearly makes the case that the budgetary strategy of Italy is to be considered within the overall agenda for structural reform.Compared to the 2014 Stability Programme, Italy’s DBP postpones the achievement of the MTO to 2017 and slows down the reduction of the debt-to-GDP ratio in the coming years. As a result, the DBP plans to breach Italy’s requirements under the preventive arm of the Stability and Growth Pact (SGP).According to our preliminary analysis – on the basis of the recalculation by the Commission services using the commonly agreed methodology – Italy plans a significant deviation from the required adjustment path towards its medium-term budgetary objective (MTO) in 2015 based on the planned change in the structural balance. Moreover, the planned change in the structural balance for 2015 would also fall short of the change required to ensure adherence to the transition debt rule, since this requirement is even more stringent than the required adjustment path towards the MTO. Against this background, further exchanges of information have already taken place between your services and the Commission.In line with the provisions of Article 7(2) of Regulation (EU) No 473/2013 of 21 May 2013, I am writing to consult you on the reasons why Italy plans non-compliance with the SGP in 2015. I would also wish to know how Italy could ensure full compliance with its budgetary policy obligations under the SGP for 2015.

The Commission seeks to continue a constructive dialogue with Italy with the view to come to a final assessment. I would therefore welcome your view at your earliest convenience and if possible by 24 October. This would allow the Commission to take into account Italy’s views in the further procedure.

Yours Sincerely,

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Obama, Jinping e Renzi Incontrano Dio

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Dio convoca i capi di Stati Uniti, Cina e Italia e gli dice che il mondo finirà il giorno successivo e che bisogna preparare i popoli.
Così Barack Obama va in televisione e annuncia: “Americani, ho da darvi una bella notizia e una brutta notizia. Avevamo ragione, Dio esiste! Ma il mondo finirà domani.”
Xi Jinping, invece, dice ai Cinesi: “Compagni! Ho una brutta notizia da darvi e una ancora peggio. Avevamo torto, Dio esiste! E il mondo finirà domani.”
Matteo Renzi, infine, va sulla Rai e dice: “Italiani, ho una notizia bellissima da darvi, Dio pensa che sono uno dei tre uomini più importanti del mondo”.

Tratta, tradotta e modificata da una barzelletta di Gerard Baker, Direttore del Wall Street Journal

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New Details Emerge in Italian Match-Fixing Scandal

The two biggest names involved in the current police investigation into match-fixing in Italian football, ‘calcioscommesse’, seem to have had a stroke of luck during the forensic analysis of over 200 computers, mobile phones and tablets. Of the 56 confiscated computers, only Antonio Conte’s hard disk was irreparably damaged by the police and thus rendered ‘unreadable’. “Objectively, it is mysterious, at least from a statistical point of view”, commented one of the lawyers dryly. There was a different kind of problem with Stefano Mauri’s mobile phone which could not be analysed since he won’t tell the investigators his PIN number. Also, the clan’s man in China, Luca Burini, who along with Beppe Signori is accused of money laundering, seems to have outwitted the police by communicating in a language unknown to even Google Translate.

The police in Cremona had more success with their analysis of other peoples’ electronic devices. Erodiani and Bruni’s revealed numerous exchanges of information and vast amounts of money in bribes and winnings from match-fixing. This new information has led to other games coming under investigation, including Genoa-Sampdoria and matches involving Sassuolo, at the time managed by Max Allegri.

The next hearing in the trial is on October 29th.

http://www.gazzetta.it/Calcio/03-10-2014/calcioscommesse-nuove-combine-a-b-inchiesta-cremona-90640359600.shtml

 

 

 

 

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Italian Establishment Withdraws Support for Renzi

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Renzi took a hammering yesterday from an unexpected, new adversary. The establishment newspaper, Corriere della Sera, launched an unprecedented attack against our rock’n’roll premier in a hard-hitting editorial.
Ferruccio de Bortoli wrote that Renzi is egocentric, superficial and unable to build a team. Surrounded by incompetent, weak ministers and advisors, he just concentrates on sound bites and photo opportunities. He goes on to claim that Napolitano’s successor could form part of the pact that Renzi has struck with Berlusconi and that this deal has a ‘stench of freemasonry’.
Whatever the motivations behind this attack, it would be unwise to underestimate its significance. It represents a shift in the Italian political landscape as an important part of the establishment withdraws its support for Matteo Renzi.

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Le presenze di UKIP all’Europarlamento

All MEPs are paid £72,000.
Here is just a quick breakdown of UKIP MEP attendance records (since 2009):
Godfrey Bloom:
Plenary (whole Parliament) votes: 54% (Only 2 MEPs were worse)
Roll Call votes: 29% (He was the worst MEP)
Amount of legislation he has tried to amend or introduce: 0 (joint worst)
Paul Nuttall:
Plenary (whole Parliament) votes: 63% (ranked 742/752)
Roll Call votes: 48% (ranked 745/752)
Amount of legislation he has tried to amend or introduce: 5 (ranked 687/752)
The Earl of Dartmouth
Plenary (whole Parliament) votes: 71% (ranked 711/752)
Roll Call votes: 69% (ranked 684/752)
Nigel Farage
Plenary (whole Parliament) votes: 71% (ranked 708/752)
Roll Call votes: 50% (ranked 743/752)
Amount of legislation he has tried to amend or introduce: 0 (joint worst)

http://www.votewatch.eu

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