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Italian report Italian report
by Euro Reporter
2009-07-17 06:48:46
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One Italian in Two Declares Less than 15,000 Euros

Eighteen thousand eight hundred and ninety two Euros. That’s Italy’s average annual income, equivalent to 1,453 Euros a month gross, including a thirteenth salary Christmas bonus. At least, that’s the figure that emerges from the declarations submitted by 41 million Italian taxpayers in 2008. The returns refer to 2007, when the crisis was only in its infancy, so it is no surprise to find that figures were 3.1% up on 2006. The picture changes from region to region, with the north west of Italy showing an average income of 21,480 Euros contrasting with the south and islands, which declared about 6,000 Euros less. The revenue department, which published the results of last year’s tax returns, reveals that the average earnings of the self-employed rose by 2% to 37,124 Euros whereas employees’ earning grew by 1% to 19,335 Euros. Again on average, pensions rose by 3% from 13,046 to 13,448 Euros and earnings from shareholdings went from 19,254 to 19,927 Euros (+3.5%).

Leaving the average figures to one side, it is striking that half of Italian taxpayers declared an income of less than 15,000 Euros and that the well-heeled, with incomes of more than 200,000 Euros, make up just 0.2% of the total. In the lower income groups, there are significant differences among employment categories. Some 34.8% of employees declared an income of less than 15,000 Euros, as opposed to 22% of the self-employed and 59% of pensioners. Overall, 80% of taxpayers declared an income for the year of less than 26,000 Euros.

So apart of a scandalous life what else Silvio has to offer to the Italians?


The Remains of St Paul

Benedict XVI made no attempt to conceal his profound emotion as he made what is a landmark announcement for the history of the Church. A probe into St Paul’s tomb, underneath the basilica of San Paolo fuori le mura, has made a preliminary identification. The papal message said that tests carried out and the remains discovered which include bone fragments, grains of incense and a piece of gold-sequinned linen, confirm an almost 2,000-year-old tradition of venerating the apostle of the Gentile’s remains in the sarcophagus.

The could be no more fitting end to the Pauline Year, dedicated to the 2,000th anniversary of St Paul’s birth. The Catholic Church has in the past excavated and investigated to identify with certainty the tomb of St Peter, pivotal to the Catholic faith and primacy of the bishop of Rome, but doubts have always surrounded the sarcophagus of St Paul and its contents. Benedict XVI described the recent meticulous scientific examination at an ecumenical service in the Basilica of San Paolo fuori le Mura, attended by an Orthodox delegation from Constantinople (Istanbul). He said: “A tiny perforation was made in the sarcophagus, which has never been opened over the centuries. A special probe was introduced, which detected traces of a precious purple-dyed linen fabric covered in gold sequins and a blue fabric with linen threads. Grains of red incense, as well as protein and calcareous substances, were also detected”.


North-South divide worsens

Italy`s north-south gap is worsening with businesses struggling and more southerners seeking jobs in the north, according to an annual report. In 2008 some 122,000 people left the south, making a total of 700,000 in the last 11 years, said the Association for the Development of Industry in the Mezzogiorno (SVIMEZ). Many of the internal emigrants were graduates boasting ``excellent`` skills, it said. The exodus came chiefly from the three regions of Campania, Puglia and Sicily, which accounted for 87% of the outflow. There was also a 15.3% rise last year in the number of southerners, ``mainly well-educated under-40s``, who commute to jobs in the north

Long-term job seekers or people who had given up on finding jobs have boosted unemployment in the Mezzogiorno to some 22%, compared to 7.9% nationally. The South has the lowest level of youth employment in the European Union, with just 17% of southerners between the ages of 15 and 24 in work. The south was harder hit by the global recession than the north, with GDP down 3.6% and manufacturing output down 6%, while the growth rate of bank lending to firms fell from 14.9% to 7.9%, compared to a contraction from 12.4% to 10.2% in the north.

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Emanuel Paparella2009-07-17 11:21:26
The divide is not only economic but cultural too, I am afraid. In Silvio's land it is now normal for a leghista congressman soon to be a Europarlamentarian to sing a song which goes like this (I am translating of course): "Here come the Neapolitans, even the dogs run away from the stench." Rather parsfoxical in the era of a United Europe... Then there is the news tha one Italian in two makes less than 15.000 euros a year which belies the myth that Italy is now a prosperous Western country with nothing to worry economically. Finally, not mentioned here but worth pondering the social encyclical of the Pope on the global economy Truth and Charity which was written for the pondering of the G8 summit in Aquila. Was anybody listening? The answer is forthcoming next month when I return to the States to recount my observation of various Italian follies as well as several positive cultural phenomena. No doubt about it, Italy is a country of contrasts and perplexities. More later.

Emanuel Paparella2009-07-17 11:23:29
Errata: paradoxical

Thanos2009-07-17 21:44:31
I lived for a very brief period in Milan a couple of decades ago and you are right, the divide was huge and I had the feeling that the people actually were constantly working into making it bigger. Pity. But as you said the very same time the very same people are united, as you said a country with contrasts and perplexities!

Thanos2009-07-17 21:45:52
Actually I find a lot of similarities with Greece, the only difference is that in Greece it is the rich south and the poor north!

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