January 3, 2012

Those Overpaid Italian Parliamentarians

Enrico Giovannini
“In short,” writes today the Corriere della Sera newspaper, “Italy’s deputies and senators pocket 60% more than the European average.” That’s no surprise, of course. The big news, if anything, is that this is what has just been posted by the Giovannini Committee on the Civil Service ministry website (.pdf, in Italian). The working group chaired by Enrico Giovannini, the president of Italy’s ISTAT statistics institute, and made up of experts in the field including a representative from Eurostat, was required—by a rule introduced by former Economy minister Giulio Tremonti and adopted by the leaders of both houses—to conduct a study of the institutional and organisational structures of seven countries, included Italy, in a few months “to a level of detail never hitherto achieved in the literature.” Needless to say, the committee came up against some problems… As a result, in the committee’s own words, the data included—from which it emerges that Italy’s elected representatives cost from 20% to 400% (!!!)  more than their colleagues abroad—are to be considered “provisional and of insufficiently high quality for the purposes indicated by the law.” As the song suggests, “It’s a Long Way to Tipperary.”

Waiting for the 'Liberal' Revolution

“The pledge to liberalise Italy’s service industries has proved more often a campaign slogan than reality,” says the Financial Times. Yet Mario Monti’s new government has already chalked up one “revolution,” as the Corriere della Sera newspaper put it, “that puts the country ahead of much of Europe.” Read the rest to learn more about the whole thing. Meanwhile we are keeping our fingers crossed over here, because the liberal revolution—liberal in the classic sense of the word—has many powerful enemies in this country. After all, Mario Monti himself is the man who managed to bring to heel the U.S. software giant Microsoft, but was stopped in his tracks last month by Italian taxi drivers and pharmacists, as the FT rightly points out, and as all of us well know.