Steve Chiotakis: Italy today is slamming Standard & Poor’s for downgrading the country’s credit rating by another notch. Government officials there say they’re working hard to boost the country’s economy and reduce its debts.
Isabella Bufacchi is a reporter at the financial newspaper Il Sole 24 Ore and she’s with us now. Hi Isabella.
Isabella Bufacchi: Good morning.
Chiotakis: What was the downgrade mostly about?
Bufacchi: Well, funnily enough, the downgrade is about what we already knew — that Italy’s growth is low, is weak, is getting worse. And also that the political situation in Italy is really unstable.
Chiotakis: Did anyone see this coming? I mean, we’ve been talking about Greece for such a long time, right?
Bufacchi: Yeah, well, actually, last May, Standard & Poor’s put our A+ rating on a negative outlook, and also Moody’s has got us on review for a possible downgrade. What is I think new is the speed that the Standard & Poor’s rating has come because it was announced last May, and we got the downgrade right now.
Chiotakis: And Prime Minister Berlusconi was very defiant, right, in his response — but what is he going to do, or what can the government do?
Bufacchi: Well the government is saying, we just announced a very big, restrictive budget — cuts in spending and higher taxes — and then they’re saying, now we’re moving on to growth reforms. We have been hearing about reforms for growth for the past ten years — or actually I would say 20 years. So that’s the situation.
Chiotakis: Isabella Bufacchi a journalist at Il Sole 24 Ore in Italy. Thank you so much.
Bufacchi: OK, bye!