Financial Times upfront about where it sympathies lie: ‘Renzi is the last hope for the Italian elite’

Such an inconvenience for those in their villas, such as this one in Tuscany. Source.

Social and economic stress is rising every month in Italy, as are the political stakes for which Matteo Renzi, the reform-minded prime minister, is playing. Since the onset of the financial crisis in 2008, no big European countries and few small ones have taken as big a hit as Italy.

In six years the country’s economy has shrunk by 9 per cent and manufacturing output has collapsed by 25 per cent. Unemployment is above 13 per cent of the workforce, and the youth jobless rate is more than 40 per cent — the highest level since the 1970s.

Public debt is set to rise in 2016 to 133 per cent of economic output. What makes this picture so bleak is that not all of these woes can be blamed on the eurozone’s sovereign debt and banking crises. Uniquely among the region’s 19 member states, Italy’s economy has barely grown at all since the euro’s launch in 1999.

Political conditions in Italy are also disturbing. In countries that, unlike Italy, required emergency financial rescues in 2010-13 from the EU and International Monetary Fund, two-party political systems are cracking under the strain of populist insurgencies. But in Italy things are well past that point…

The non-elite parties are referred to in the article as “populists.”  And it is not just mass immigration — the euro common currency has not worked out very well for the country.  The economy is in bad shape, as the article notes.