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Greek tragedy falls on deaf Italian ears PDF Print E-mail
May 07, 2010 at 08:53 PM

Giulio Tremonti
If it weren’t so embarrassing it might even be funny. But, in truth, it’s not funny at all. Yesterday afternoon,  in fact, Thursday, May 6th, when Italy’s respected Economics Minister Giulio Tremonti addressed the lower house of the Italian parliament on the Greek financial (and social) crisis, just about nobody was listening – and this despite the fact that, as the shakiness of the continent’s stock markets show, could have serious repercussions elsewhere in Europe. 

Yes, TV sets throughout the massive Chamber of Deputies in downtown Rome were broadcasting scenes of the Greek riots that caused the deaths of three innocent bank employees. But the overwhelming majority of the red plush seats in the ornate assembly hall were……empty. Only 58 (sic!) of Italy’s 630 deputies were actually there to hear Tremonti speak and even worse, of those present only eight were from the majority party headed by prime minister Silvio Berlusconi, the PdL or Partito della Libertà and its close ally, the Northern League.  

The fact is that Italy’s MPs don’t ever do too much work; most come to Rome on Tuesday morning and leave town after lunch on Thursday. But this is going too far. Legend has it that Nero fiddled while Rome did burn. Yesterday, while Athens was on fire, official Rome did nothing but yawn. 


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