Should we be worried about Italy deadlock?
March 6th, 2013
10:00 AM ET

Should we be worried about Italy deadlock?

"Fareed Zakaria GPS," Sundays at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. ET on CNN

Fareed speaks with Beppe Severgnini, a columnist with Italy’s ‘Corriere della Sera,’ about last week’s Italian elections and what the deadlock means for the country.

Does it matter that nobody is running Italy? The line in Italy has always been, the government sleeps and the economy grows.

Well, it does matter, to be honest. It does matter a lot. But we're not worried. You shouldn't be worried. I think things will be sorted out…But don't panic. I remember I was in Aspen for the Aspen Ideas Festival, late June, 2012.  A panel about Europe.  Everybody was talking about doomsday, you know, everything is over. And I told them, keep quiet.  Let's see what happens. And, in fact, it turned out that things got better. So before we decide that it is over – I think the expression, it's not over until the fat lady sings, it comes from opera. Opera is Italian, don't forget that.

But let me ask you, Beppe, why did the Italians do this? It's one thing to reject austerity and things like that. But, you know, you've elected either one or two clowns, depending on one's estimation of Silvio Berlusconi. What are the Italians saying?

Out of four Italians, one didn't vote, one voted for Berlusconi, one voted for the center left, one voted for Grillo. So that's why we are in a stalemate. Beppe Grillo is a kind of wrecking ball for Italian politics. And to be honest, some of the Italian political buildings needed to go down. Political parties asked for it. The question is, will we be able to build up something to replace what we pulled down?

What about this issue that Italy has done a fair amount of austerity, but very little reform. If you look at unit labor costs, which is one proxy for reform, they have barely changed in Italy, whereas they're down substantially in places like Spain or even Greece. If you look at the structural reforms that people think Italy needs, they haven't done that much with all of Mario Monti’s efforts.

Don't forget, it's very important for people who are looking at this program to understand how we get there.  When the crisis hit, every country reacted in different ways. You in America, what happened? You know, on the left, people occupied whatever it was free to occupy. [There’s] the Tea Party on the right. In Greece, they clashed in the square. In France, they took to the streets. In Britain, they enjoyed swearing at their bankers. In Italy, it was all very quiet. And people accepted Mario Monti’s bitter medicine.

And this is the reaction, a bit sort of delayed. I agree…we really need to go into structural reform. Berlusconi was a disaster as a prime minister, because Italy, between 2001 and 2011, only a few countries in the world grew less than Italy – Eritrea, Haiti and Zimbabwe. How is that possible? We sell Prada, we sell Maserati and Ferrari. We are a good big manufacturing country – bigger than Britain, as a matter of fact, in terms of manufacturing.

So we need to go back to what we can do and restructure. Maybe it's the time to do it. They are so scared, the political parties, that they'll do everything.


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Topics: Elections • Italy

soundoff (11 Responses)
  1. me

    Its Italy, a little red wine with dinner and all their troubles just float away.

    March 6, 2013 at 10:38 am | Reply
  2. rightospeak

    It is amazing how truth gets distorted, how real reasons are never mentioned in the media.
    The NO TO AUSTERITY was wise to prevent an outright rebellion of Italian people.It will happen in Greece as well ,or there will be a revolution.The politics of Globalism left EU in big debt which was intended to destroy nationalism and push the Globalist Agenda . The banks gambled away a lot of money and now want to suck the people dry for their losses. The people in the EU are beginning to rebel. My hope is that it will be without bloodshed. The parties will move towards the right because people have realized that the tyranny of the Left worked hand in hand with the oligarchs. We are approaching the breakup of the euro. Remember ,you heard this in my comments.

    March 6, 2013 at 11:26 am | Reply
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    March 6, 2013 at 2:42 pm | Reply
  4. Hahahahahaahha

    Pay the Pizzo!!!!!!!! You idiots. Hahahahahahahha

    March 6, 2013 at 4:55 pm | Reply
  5. j. von hettlingen

    Beppe Severgnini tried to convince the world that Italy's economy would eventually get back on its feet. It's easier said than done: reforming Italy's political system and economic structure is a Herculean task, that might just be a waste of time. The North/South divide is the problem. Perhaps to start with: the secession of the North and make it a strong state.

    March 6, 2013 at 6:52 pm | Reply
    • Sal

      Did you notice that where the economy is better Berlusconi's voters are the most numerous ?
      Something to think about !

      March 19, 2013 at 2:01 am | Reply
  6. Sal

    Does it make sense to interview somebody who is politically sided ? (and voting for the former communist party) ? It would be better to interview an economist. Better if Italian and away from politics.
    To show worries is simply ridiculous. Mankind has survived much worse periods of time that this one !
    Young Italians who cannot find a job at home can always move abroad.
    At the end it's just a matter of believing that politics can do quite a little for the People while everybody should be taught to count only on one's forces. T. Harv Eker would be the perfect leader for showing citizens how to solve their lives' problems. But probably Mr. Severgnini (a INTER F.C.'s fan who dislikes Berlusconi's AC MILAN, too) doesn't even know who this guy is.

    March 19, 2013 at 1:58 am | Reply
  7. Evan

    This is a song that uses a sample from this interview. Beppe's first club hit. It's not over until the fat lady sings!

    [soundcloud url="" params="visual=true&show_artwork=true&maxwidth=500&maxheight=750" width="100%" height="400" iframe="true" /]

    April 29, 2013 at 1:04 am | Reply

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