On August 13, 2014, the International New York Times printed an op ed by Beppe Severgnini attacking Matteo Renzi, Italy’s Prime Minister. Severgnini offered readers this classic question and answer.
“So why is Italy’s economy, the eurozone’s third largest, the only major one in Europe currently flatlining? Last week Istat, the national statistics bureau, reported that it had contracted in two successive quarters for the third time since 2007, plunging us into a triple-dip recession.
How did we pull that one off? Plenty of plausible explanations blame the feckless government of Silvio Berlusconi, or the acquiescent administrations of Mario Monti and Enrico Letta that followed, the latter two having imposed the European Union’s — or rather, Berlin’s — belt-tightening on a country needing to boost consumption and investment.
But blaming Brussels, or anyone else abroad, is wrong. The rest of Europe followed the German diktat, and yet Italy is the only one suffering.”