The president of the European Central Bank, Jean-Claude Trichet, and his successor-designate, Mario Draghi (governor of the Bank of Italy), have sent a letter to Italy’s prime minister, Silvio Berlusconi, dictating the terms on which the ECB is prepared to buy Italy’s increasingly costly debt.
The bank’s demands almost amount to a new government programme; the level of detail in the letter must have astonished even the recipient.
There are the measures to be taken, and there is the timetable according to which they must be implemented.
Not even the legislative instruments that the ECB asks the government to use have been left out. They included liberalisations, to be imposed by decree; privatisations, including those of companies owned by local authorities, to be begun immediately; and sweeping “reforms” of the labour market to abolish the distinction between cosseted “insiders” (in permanent employment) and “outsiders” (on shortterm contracts, with few rights and scant entitlements).
The letter also instructed Berlusconi to enact the radical measures through emergency decree in order to speed up the process. Going through parliament with the necessary scrutiny and amendments would simply be too slow.
Berlusconi agreed.People’s Movement · 25 Shanowen Crescent · Dublin 9 · www.people.ie · 087 2308330 · post (at) people (dot) ie The People’s Movement has launched a new pamphlet entitled The European Stability Mechanism and the case for an Irish Referendum.