Ten Major Italian Cities On Verge of Financial Collapse

Mike Shedlock
Posted: Jul 24, 2012 12:01 AM

The economic situation in Italy has reached a critical phase as Ten major cities face risk of crash

The word "crash" implies bankruptcy. Milan, Naples, and Turin are among the cities. The Association of Municipalities plans to demonstrate in Rome against new cuts, hoping to sends a clear message to prime minister Mario Monti that will "force his hand".

What follows in blockquotes is an "as is" translation from La Stampa.

There are ten major Italian cities with more than 50,000 inhabitants, who are a step away from the crash. Naples and Palermo at the top of the "black list", although a task force for weeks at Palazzo Chigi is doing everything possible to avoid the worst. Then Reggio Calabria, finished in red already in 2007-2008 and is now being investigated by the judiciary. And then so many other governments, large and small (like Milazzo), perhaps far virtuous, could be forced to ask for the "collapse", which means dissolution of the council, entrance of the Court of Auditors and prefectural commissioner.

At risk are at least a dozen large cities' trust in the government technicians who are monitoring the situation. "The situation is becoming more difficult every day," confirms the president of ANCI Graziano Del Rio. Pointing the finger at yet another cut in transfers, against the measures introduced by the spending review, and that raises the alarm of many fellow mayors. "By cutting the residual assets of a sudden it is clear that financial statements do not fit anymore." In itself the principle, Del Rio argues, is not even wrong, "but is more gradual to allow time for the mayors who have used this method to adapt. Why else would even virtuous municipalities, such as Salerno, at this point are at risk."

Based on data available to the Interior Ministry that the phenomenon of Commons have declared bankruptcy in the last two years has literally exploded from 1-2 cases a year has passed about 25, including north-central governments also where this type the phenomenon was unknown until recently. Striking in the case of Alexandria, whose mayor just a few weeks ago, threw in the towel under the weight of 100 million euros of debt. The same fate had previously befallen smaller municipalities like Riomaggiore (SP), Castiglione Fiorentino and Barnsley in the province of Como.

There is a problem of keeping budgets and there is an even stronger cash. Often the mayor in office is empty.

"At 4 months from the closing of accounts 2012 - Del Rio says - even the 500 million cuts to transfers planned for this year are very heavy. They represent a very significant part of our budgets and delete it at once not only creates other problems of cash but also disrupts the objectives of the Stability Pact." For this reason the Association of Municipalities, which will return tomorrow to demonstrate in Rome against the new cuts, sends a clear message Monti: "Attention to force his hand, because this step forward the day when common as Milan, Naples and Turin will leave the Stability Pact will this gesture only plows in the accounts of the entire state. " Del Rio concludes: "We are open to reason, but things should be done wisely. And above all we must take into account that in recent years as municipalities have already given 22 billion euros.
Eurointelligence sums up the article this way:
Over 10 Italian big cities are on the verge of financial collapse. Debts, derivatives and mistakes: the Italian municipalities are in crisis. After the default of Alessandria, a big city in Piedmont (North-Western Italy), there are several risks for Turin, Milan, Napoli, Palermo, Reggio Calabria and other cities with over 50,000 inhabitants. "Too much debts, over 10 metropolitan cities should ask to Corte dei Conti (the Italian Court of Auditors) for an orderly default," Graziano Del Rio, chairman of Italian Association of Commons, said to La Stampa. In last week the Sicily has asked for a financial support and has claimed over €1bn of credits to Italian government.

Social Media Panic in Italy: "Enough of this Agony; Give Us Back the Lira"

Black Monday messages on Facebook and Twitter have gone viral in Italy as people have had enough of austerity, job losses, and uncertainty. La Stampa reports on Panic in the Network.

What follows is a Mish-revised translation of select ideas and quotes from the article. My specific comments are in brackets.

Black Monday breaks early in the morning on websites across the world and social networking spreads alarm. "Withdraw money from bank accounts" is the appeal of Andrew to Facebook friends.

Pseudo-analysis on the alleged benefits of a return to the lira go around the net. "Enough of this sad agony. Bring back the old money", Paul insists.

"In 2000 we had the lira. We were producing more, exporting more, and children were living better, the results of monetary sovereignty" says Magdi Cristiano Allam on Twitter.

"We are on the brink of the abyss and the top EU cazzeggiano [slang for F* around]," accuses Ivan.

The tones on social networks are apocalyptic: "This is not a crisis, it's the end of capitalism." On the forum of the economics of printing a black player sees: "Folks, we begin to pray, after Greece's up to us. We are at the end titles, to every man for himself."

Then there are the usual conspiracy theories regarding the IMF, ECB, Germany, the White House, U.S. investment banks, the Bilderberg and the Trilateral Commission. All guilty of "working for the failure of Italy and Spain." "We must defend ourselves from the American speculation, but Merkel holds us hostage," Roberto tweets.

Everyone looks to Mario Draghi: The "ECB needs to intervene at once" says David Sassoli MEP [Member of European Parliament].

"We're towards the end of the line like Greece and Spain?" Asks Matthew.

The stubborn "spread" climbs the ranking of most used words in the blogosphere. [Presumably spread refers to interest rate differentials between Italy and Germany]

Catherine accuses the government, political parties, unions, and banks. "It takes courage," writes Catherine on the Facebook page of La Stampa. Catherine then rattles off a recipe based on "Electoral Law, priority to industry, limiting immigration, elimination of environmental bulls**t, and zero bureaucracy."

Small investors are bewildered: "If I buy U.S. government bonds and Italy out of the Euro, those are always in dollars, right?" asks Stephanie C. on Facebook.
Schools May Not Reopen After Summer Break

Please note that Italian provinces warn cuts may close schools
Italian regional authorities may not be able to open schools after the summer break if spending cuts planned in the government's latest spending review are carried through, the head of the Union of Italian Provinces (UPI) said on Monday.

"With these cuts we won't be able to guarantee the opening of the school year," UPI President Giuseppe Castiglione told reporters in Rome.

Piero Lacorazza, president of the province of Potenza in southern Italy, said the comment
was "not an exaggeration", adding that "half of the provinces are in serious financial difficulty".
More Panic in Brussels Than on Social Media

In case you missed it, please consider Ten Major Italian Cities On Verge of Financial Collapse

Also note a Time-Lapse Interactive Graph Shows Stunning Rise in Anti-Euro Sentiment in Italy.

In terms of sheer panic, I bet eurocrats in Brussels are in a bigger state of panic than what you saw on Twitter.

Here is a thought of mine that is worth repeating:

Eventually, there will come a time when a populist office-seeker will stand before the voters, hold up a copy of the EU treaty and (correctly) declare all the "bail out" debt foisted on their country to be null and void. That person will be elected.

Beppe Grillo may be just that person.
Mike "Mish" Shedlock