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I have delivered

Shortly before his state visit to Berlin at the end of January 2016 Matteo Renzi Italy’s prime minister said:  “Now I can report to Berlin about progress. Italy is now no longer a problem for the EU. I have delivered!” he had delivered the Labour reform know as the “Jobs act”. So now in Italy too: deregulated Labour.

Giuliano Poletti, the labour minister defends the reform: “In the first month after the new framework of law came into effect more than 160,000 new long term contracts were concluded – almost double the number as compared to the same month a year before.” In reality however the unemployment level after a short reduction for a couple of months,  went up again to 13.7%. And even now 42.6% of the people in the 15-24 year age group are without work.  

Portugal too has delivered. Until recently Portugal was the model candidate among the so called debtor countries because they had implemented the labour market reform in detail. In spite of that the economic data has hardly changed significantly, quite the contrary. Portugal’s total debt is almost one third higher than in Greece.

Spain too has delivered. With the help of lowered wages in 2015 the economy in Spain grew by 3%, but the unemployment rate stayed at its highest level ever. Among the youth 53.7% are without work and that too even though 9 out of 10 university graduates leave the country. The wages have come close to the levels in Greece so that 3€ per hour is no longer unusual.

All over the south of the Euro zone the same development. All these countries have to deliver. No, not to their own voters. Those who have been voted in deliver the yield to the investors who expect that yield with the lowest wages. All this has little to do with democracy.  Whomever the Greeks, Italians, Spaniards, Portuguese and French vote for, they have to deliver the impoverishment of their citizens.