Italy Turmoil: 'We Should Now Call This a Crisis'

Once again, the fate of the eurozone is uncertain
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted May 29, 2018 8:01 AM CDT
Italy's Political Crisis Spooks World Markets
Five-Stars Movement leader Luigi Di Maio is silhouetted against a giant screen showing premier-designate Carlo Cottarelli during the Rai Uno TV program 'Porta a Porta' hosted by journalist Bruno Vespa, in Rome, Italy, late Monday, May 28, 2018.   (Alessandro di Meo/ANSA via AP)

The specter of a financial crisis came back to haunt Italy on Tuesday, as its markets plunged on fears that the eurozone's third-largest economy is heading toward an election that will be a referendum on whether to stay in the common currency. The Wall Street Journal notes that the crisis is spooking world markets as well, and Business Insider has a primer on what's going on, with this key point: "Perhaps the simplest way to imagine the eurozone is as a three-legged stool," writes Will Martin. "Germany, France and Italy are the legs holding up the rest of the project. Remove any one of those three pillars and the stool falls over." The political situation is convoluted. Premier-designate Carlo Cottarelli was expected to submit his list of ministers to President Sergio Mattarella in Rome, two days after a failed attempt by two populist parties to form a government.

Enraged at losing their chance at governing following inconclusive elections in March, both the anti-establishment 5-Star Movement and the anti-euro League vowed with other parties to vote against a Cottarelli government when it faces a vote of confidence in parliament, expected later this week. That would force Italy to new elections in the fall, with Cottarelli heading an interim, caretaker government, per the AP. "Italy will be wrapped in a long drawn-out period of wrangling that will feature intense anti-establishment and euroskeptic tones," said political analyst Wolfango Piccoli. He said that while it was doubtful that the 5-Stars and League would "embrace a clear euro-exit platform," they can be expected to be more hostile toward the EU. "We should now call this a crisis," said Kit Juckes, an analyst at Societe Generale.

(More Italy stories.)

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