Italy Trembles On The Brink Of The Impossible
Wolf Richter, Testosterone Pit
Jun. 14, 2012
“I believe, no,” is how Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti answered the question if Italy would seek a bailout—lacking the bravado and vehemence with which Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy had claimed for the longest time that Spain wouldn’t need one. Until it needed one.
The question was hot. It followed the kerfuffle that ensued when Austrian Finance Minister Maria Fekter had let it slip Monday that Italy, given the high rates it has to pay on its debt, might also need “support.”
Monti was addressing restive German taxpayers on Bavarian public radio: He understood that Germans were looking at Italy as “a merry and undisciplined country,” but Italy was much more disciplined than other countries, he said, and wasn’t all that merry.
Italy is paying twice, he said: for the bailouts of other countries and very high rates for its own sovereign debt. Germany pays only once, namely for the bailouts, because it pays practically no interest on its debt. But he promised his German listeners: “The budget deficit this year will be low, only 2%.” And next year, a surplus is scheduled. “The country is changing,” he said.