Leadership under strain in Italy and Greece

Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi with Luxembourger Prime Minister Jean-Claude Juncker and George Papandreou at the EU headquarters in Brussels, on October 26, 2011.

Steve Chiotakis: More maneuvering in Greece and Italy today, as the two countries try to dig themselves out of debt. Politicians in both places face major parliamentary tests today.

In Italy, for a budget; and in Greece, for a new government. Christopher Werth reports.


Christopher Werth: For Italian lawmakers, today's budget bill would normally be boring and procedural. But today will be anything but boring. Because Italy's Prime Minister, Silvio Berlusconi, is growing more unpopular by the day, the bill could fail. And if that happens, Berlusconi could be forced to step down.

Meanwhile, Greek politicians are making noises that naming a new leader may take longer than expected.

Simon Tilford is with the Centre for European Reform. He says a best case scenario would mean by the end of the day, both Italy and Greece have new leadership that has popular support. But even under those circumstances, it won't be smooth sailing.

Simon Tilford: People will quickly come to realize that just because Greece has cobbled together a government doesn't meant that it's going to be able to maintain support for the bailout package. So I don't think there's an upside really. There's certainly a downside.

Today's worst case scenario? No political resolution in Italy or Greece, their borrowing costs continue to jump, and worries that Europe may not have enough money to bail out Italy.

In London, I'm Christopher Werth for Marketplace.

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