Risk of a political ‘earthquake’ in Italy


Recently I spent some time in the South and with the referendum approaching I asked some of the people for their opinion on the reform as proposed by Renzi. In spite of all publicity on radio and television in favor of the reform, most of the people were against it.


On the question why they would vote against, the answers were different and confused. Everybody agrees the system has to be simplified but not in the way as proposed by Renzi. Questioning them on how they see the simplification shows that they don’t really understand what it is about, but who can blame them for that. What they do understand is that they pay more taxes, interests, fines etc to Equitalia, that they earn too little and even less then before, that the elderly receive ridiculously low pensions (less then 500 euro), that the euro resulted in an important increase of the cost of living, that energy and water became very expensive and the always returning mantra ‘there is no work’!


On top of this disaster comes the issue of the refugees. As Italy is one of the countries first in line receiving refugees, government sought solution in paying individuals and organizations a daily fee of around 45 euro per refugee in order to provide them with food and shelter. When you consider that an average rate for a standard room in a 3 and 4 star hotel is in between 55 and 65 euro a day[1], this refugee shelter project is extremely well paid, whilst a lot of people earn little more than 600 euro for a full month of work. This solidarity-based governmental project very quickly became a new business for some smart Italian entrepreneurs investing in low priced premises to shelter and feed hundreds of refugees at a cost of some euros a day per capita.


And the icing of the cake still has to come! Imagine a small city somewhere in the south with 20.000 inhabitants, a smart guy and owner of an old abandoned hotel sheltering and feeding 800 refugees. These refugees are nourished and sheltered but have no other means of income and so they take on local work at 20 or 25 euro a day, leaving the locals with even less then before.


The above seems to me as the ideal cocktail for a political ‘earthquake’, leaving Renzi empty-handed with an Italy in an even bigger crisis than before. Is Renzi really responsible for the actual situation or is he only the heir of his predecessors’ foolishness, testator for Grillo’s M5S triggering the end of EU?


[1] Except for July and Augustus