(Photo: Mine management, by mm-j) The scene of Italian politics is neither the Parliament nor the Government. Italian politics lives and dies in the media. Will the overhanging reform of pensions ever come to an end?
Friday, July 6th. Mr Romano Prodi says that he will soon directly take care of the reform aiming to reduce the 'deep step' introduced by Mr Silvio Berlusconi’s government (corriere.it): at present, a worker who was born on December 31st, 1957, will retire in 2007; while a worker who was born on January 1st, 1958, will retire in 2010. The newspapers say that those are supposed to be the new terms for retiring: from 2008, workers would retire if they were 58; from 2010 or 2011, workers would retire if they were 59; from 2012 workers would retire if adding up age and working years they reached 96 (corriere.it).
Sunday, July 8th. Vice Prime Minister Francesco Rutelli, Senator Lamberto Dini and Minister for Foreign Trade Ms Emma Bonino say that the increasing costs introduced by the reform should be paid putting off to 62 womens’ maximum retiring age. At present, the 'official' age of retirement is 65 for men and 60 for women (corriere.it).
Monday, July 9th. Tensions are growing up between the left trade union CGIL, which seems ready to sign the agreement, and Rifondazione Comunista, which insists on obtaining better conditions for manual workers (repubblica.it).
Tuesday, July 10th. The European Union asks for rigour and explains that pensions budget can’t grow up again (corriere.it).
Friday, July 13th. The growth of retiring age will not involve wearing out works. Then a big struggle is set up to tell apart works of this kind: while Rifondazione Comunista insists for miners, labourers and nurses, the UIL trade union wants to include in this category many workers of the public sector, such as teachers (corriere.it).
Sunday, July 15th. According to Rifondazione Comunista, the accounts made by the Minister of Economy, Tommaso Padoa-Schioppa, are completely wrong: Mr Silvio Berlusconi’s pensions ‘deep step’ can be removed without any difficulties (repubblica.it).
Monday, July 16th. The Governor of Banca d’Italia, Mr Mario Draghi, states that we can’t avoid the pensions reform and we must reduce public debt, otherwise young people will certainly grow poor (lastampa.it).
Tuesday, July 17th. The Minister for Foreign Trade, Ms Emma Bonino, write down a letter to the Prime Minister, Mr Romano Prodi: she’s ready to resign if the Radical Left issues will be accepted by the Government (lastampa.it).
Meanwhile, Mr Romano Prodi seems to say that he can have his cake and eat it. Every party supporting the Government waits for Mr Prodi’s detailed reform proposal. Every party seems to want the Government to fall avoiding to assume on its own the responsibility of this fall.
In my opinion, Mr Silvio Berlusconi’s pensions ‘deep step’ has to be removed. We undoubtedly need more immigrant workers from abroad to enhance pensions funds. Miners, labourers, nurses and other worn out workers should retire at 57. But, without a shadow of a doubt, teachers and workers of the public sector are not worn out workers. Womens’ retiring age should soon grow up and reach men’s level, but only if we really decide to introduce new measures reducing sexual discrimination and increasing men’s contribution in running the household and bringing up children.
At any rate, every economic reform should be planned in silence and then announced to the press: what the Government says should always be reliable. Besides, no issue is worthwhile to make the Government to fall. Politics is the art of making ideas to fight each other and then reach a synthesis, not the chaos. MPs waiting for the fall of the Government are unable to see that the whole Italian political system is in for an irreversibile fall.
“VLADIMIR: (in anguish). Say anything at all! ESTRAGON: What do we do now? VLADIMIR: Wait for Godot. ESTRAGON: Ah! VLADIMIR: This is awful! ESTRAGON: Sing something. VLADIMIR: No no! (He reflects.) We could start all over again perhaps. ESTRAGON: That should be easy. VLADIMIR: It’s the start that’s difficult. ESTRAGON: You can start from anything. VLADIMIR: Yes, but you have to decide. ESTRAGON: True.” (Samuel Beckett, Waiting for Godot, 1952, Act I).