What's up, Europe? Italy's distraction from the crisis

Italian forward Mario Balotelli (center) scores against Irish goalkeeper Shay Given at the end of the Euro 2012 football championships match Italy vs Republic of Ireland on June 18, 2012 at the Municipal Stadium in Poznan. Italy won 0-2.

Kai Ryssdal: The G20 meeting down in Los Cabos, Mexico -- leaders of the world's 20 biggest economies -- wrapped up today. Those who'd been hoping for a definitive plan to end the European debt crisis came away disappointed.

But it does give us another chance to ask, "What's up, Europe?" Today, Italy and journalist Sofia Celeste in Milan. Good to have you with us.

Sofia Celeste: Thank you for having me on the show.

Ryssdal: So I'll tell you what, I was going to ask you all about the Greek elections and Spanish bond yields, but I imagine really the only thing people are talking about over there is soccer and the Italians beating the Irish yesterday?

Celeste: That's absolutely true. I was on my way to work this morning and I heard a group of older women talking about it at a cafe. So I think that's pretty indicative of how exciting Italy's win over Ireland was last night.

Ryssdal: That's pretty good -- little, old ladies in a cafe talking soccer.

Celeste: It was. And they actually had a lot to say about, especially about Mario Balotelli, who is an Italian football player of Ghanian decent. It's probably the first time a soccer player of African decent has been regarded as such a soccer hero in Italy.

Ryssdal: So did this game give people a lift, improve the mood at all? Because my guess would be reading the headlines about what's going on over there would just get depressing.

Celeste: Exactly. Yesterday's win was a reprieve from all the economic doldrums.

Ryssdal: So what happens next, do you think, this whole debt crisis thing. I mean, where does this all go for the Italians the Europeans?

Celeste: That's a difficult question to answer. My husband's a lawyer and I'm a journalist, and I think we're luckier than most. But it's totally impossible to predict tomorrow. We're all sort of just sort of living on edge a little bit these days.

Ryssdal: Yeah. Does that get tiring?

Celeste: It gets tiring. Talking to other people, I think that people are just staying in jobs that they don't really like because there's no certainty that they'll even be able to find another job tomorrow. Young people are so disillusioned that they're not even trying to find jobs.

Ryssdal: Sofia Celeste in Milan for us today. Sofia, thank you very much.

Celeste: Thank you for having me on the show.

About the author

Kai Ryssdal is the host and senior editor of Marketplace, public radio’s program on business and the economy.

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