It took Romano Prodi only a few months to dash hopes that his center-left government would be a reformist one. After a good start in deregulating some of Italy's service sectors and moving to lower government expenditures, the prime minister is back on traditional ground, pushing higher taxes and economic protectionism.
Mr. Prodi's problem is that he wants to be seen as a passionate left-winger and a liberal reformer. He can't be both. If he wants, as he claims, to revive Italy's economy, the reformer instinct will have to win out.
and The Economist …
Those who hoped that Romano Prodi's centre-left government would end the three-card-trick techniques of public accounting so dear to his centre-right predecessor, Silvio Berlusconi, must have been disappointed by its first budget.