The 2000-year-yold Colosseum is tilting on its south side about 40 centimeters lower than its northern side and may need urgent repairs.
It’s almost too fitting a symbol of the euro zone crisis, that a signature monument is unstable.
The announcement at the end of last week by European Central Bank (ECB) president Mario Draghi that all efforts would be made to “save the euro” has been reiterated by Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti and French President François Hollande at a meeting in Paris on Tuesday.
While markets rose on Monday after Draghi’s comment they were mixed on Tuesday and closed down.
Greece is due to run out of cash soon (August — this month). The country desperately needs the next tranche of bailout funds (this has happened before) but these will not be delivered until Greece shows that it is committed to sticking to the terms of its bailout plan to pay back massive debt. The troika (ECB, International Monetary Fund, European Commission) are extending their stay in Athens as the leaders of Greece’s coalition government seek to renegotiate the bailout, in the form of extending its terms over four instead of two years; the troika has refused to relax the bailout terms. Greece needs to, in the words of finance minister Yiannis Stournaras, regain its credibility and that does not (understatement) yet seem to be the case.
Catalonia, one of Spain’s wealthier regions, has said that it is no longer able to provide social services, for privately managed hospitals and centers for the elderly and individuals with disabilities. The Catalan government blamed the central Spanish government for its fiscal woes and boycotted a Tuesday meeting between the Spanish government and regional finance chiefs; Catalonia will most likely join Valencia and Murcia in asking for bailout funds..
Unemployment in the euro zone has hit a new high, with a jobless rate of 11.2 percent and 123,000 people out of work.
The German finance ministry has said that the European Stability Mechanism (ESM) cannot be given a banking license. Doing so would have enabled the ESM, which is meant to provide funds to EU nations in financial exigency, to borrow without limits from the ECB; France and Italy had reportedly expressed hopes this might be the case.
Attention is focused on Thursday when Draghi is to unveil how the ECB will “save the euro.”
As Simon Jenkins writes in the Guardian, there has been talk of “saving the euro” since 2010 and so far no one has been able to be victorious in such a contest.
In December, the Colosseum will get a 25 billion euro facelift, with work completed by the middle of 2015. Mariarosaria Barbera, the government official in charge of Rome’s archaeological monuments, said that the company chosen said it would carry out the work for 26 percent less than estimated. But controversy is overshadowing the agreement, with a consumer group, Codacons, asserting that funding for the work was unlawfully granted to the Tod’s shoe company. Tod’s has reportedly won the rights to use the Colosseum’s image for two years after construction is completed.
But it does seem the Colosseum, like some of the economies of EU nations, could use drastic attention a little more quickly than December.
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