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Eurocrisis: The Colosseum Is Tilting

Eurocrisis: The Colosseum Is Tilting


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 FranÁois 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..

Retails sales are (not surprisingly) down in Spain and also (more worrisome) in Germany.

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.


Related Care2 Coverage

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3:30PM PDT on Mar 17, 2013

PRIORITY? Isn't it why they call it history? Let it gooooooooo. Feed the hungry and poor.

1:50AM PDT on Mar 15, 2013


9:53AM PDT on Oct 5, 2012

oh no! It would be awful to lose this valuable and majestic piece of history.

10:56AM PDT on Oct 1, 2012


6:45AM PDT on Aug 7, 2012

Susan D -- we didn't want to be a union it was the politicians who wanted it. Here in the frozen north we were told we were joining because it would increase export markets etc. We were told we were joining the Eurozone because it would make us more influential in the global market place, and so on. Just as we have been told to accept drastic slashing of services and increases in taxation and so on -- I now have to wait upto 3 months to see a health centre doctor, my meagre pension has been frozen and income tax on it has been increased along with an increase in city taxation all to pay the bailout funds. Darn straight we do not like the Greeks, etc because like the Germans we're being penalised for working hard and building a robust economy.

12:13PM PDT on Aug 3, 2012

The Colosseum needed urgent repairs even before the Eurocrisis. Stupid Rome, such a money-waster. I am Italian, so I know, sadly.

12:00AM PDT on Aug 3, 2012

Norene H.: What do Greece and Spain being broke have to do with the repair of an ancient structure in Italy?

5:54PM PDT on Aug 2, 2012

HEY! Wake up! The building is 2000 years old - you just said so. How long can it be kept standing, reasonably? Greece is broke and Spain is not far behind. What are the priorities here?

5:32PM PDT on Aug 2, 2012

Without the original plans and permits it will be difficult to know if there was a documented warranty on the structure, or if it was built with an intentional future date of self-destruction from rock fatigue and natural causes.

3:21PM PDT on Aug 2, 2012

very sad

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