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Italy to approve budget cuts in record time

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JEREMY HOBSON: Well, Republican lawmakers are meeting this morning to talk about what the GOP would and would not accept in any deal to raise the debt ceiling. President Obama will address the debt debate at yet another news conference. Meanwhile, the Italian Parliament is expected to approve package of budget cuts worth tens of billions of dollars today. Just a matter of days after Italy’s lenders started panicking about a possible debt crisis.

For more let’s bring in John Wyse. He’s an economist at the European School of Economics in Rome. Good morning.

JOHN WYSE: Good morning.

HOBSON: Well John, how significant is it that Italian lawmakers look like they’re going to get these cuts through in record time?

WYSE: It seems to me, talking to Italian people, they recognize that Italians — when push comes to shove, they tend to be very quick in making decisions. So in situations of urgency they are very prompt and very rapid.

HOBSON: And if this vote goes through as expected later today, is Italy out of the woods?

WYSE: We couldn’t say that it’s out of the woods. What we can say is that it’s going to give a sign of relief to the market, but critics say that these are not measures that are going to guarantee that the Italian economy will get back on track in terms of growth.

HOBSON: And John, obviously as this debate is going on in Rome, we’ve got our own debt fight going on right in Washington. Are people in Italy paying attention and if so, what do they think about it?

WYSE: People in Italy are quite surprise and would’ve expected that the U.S. would’ve been much quicker to make the drastic changes that the Obama administration is proposing. But the situation is quite different here because Berlusconi still has the majority and Obama does not have the majority so that’s one of the differences.

HOBSON: John Wyse, from the European School of Economics in Rome. Thanks so much for your time this morning.

WYSE: Thank you very much.

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