Steve Chiotakis: It’s a big week for eurozone countries. French and German leaders meet today to hammer out details of a plan they’ll present to the world on Friday to help save the euro. Meanwhile, Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti goes to his parliament today, seeking big cuts and measures to boost growth. Italy’s borrowing costs have surged to unsustainable levels. The austerity package includes $27 billion of spending cuts and tax hikes.
Claudio Lodici is a professor with Loyola University Chicago and he’s with us from Rome. Hi professor.
Claudio Lodici: Hi there, how are you doing?
Chiotakis: I’m doing well. Are these cuts — these austerity measures — enough, do you think, to save Italy?
Lodici: It’s probably too early to say. It’s not not a comprehensive growth package; it mainly focuses on cuts and increasing revenues.
Chiotakis: How are Italians reacting to these measures? I mean, we saw the Greeks, of course, getting upset about cuts in their country. A lot of the cuts will certainly affect everyday working Italians too.
Lodici: Probably yes. Nevertheless, I am under the impression that the Italians are ready to work along the lines this executive is setting over these days. For instance, the news today is pretty positive. If they feel that the pressure is being relieved, then they may be willing to take another step forward, then listen to what Prime Minister Monti’s telling them.
Chiotakis: Do you think they understand how dire the situation is in Italy, and that borrowing costs are enormously high right now?
Lodici: They start understanding that things are really dire, yes. And they probably realized after three years, while former Prime Minister Berlusconi was telling them that everything was all right, that Italy’s on the brink.
Chiotakis: Professor Claudio Lodici with the Loyola University Chicago Rome Center in Rome. Thank you sir.
Lodici: It was my pleasure. Have a good day.