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Italian report
by Euro Reporter
2014-10-27 11:08:26
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Italy mayor seeks to segregate Roma people

Italian politicians have expressed outrage over a mayor’s attempt to create separate transportation for Roma people, describing it as a South African apartheid-era move. The mayor of the northern town of Borgaro Torinese, Claudio Gambino, said this week that he wanted separate buses for Roma people in order to guarantee the security of other citizens, Italian media reported on Friday.

The mayor has argued that the Roma people who live in a camp of around 600 inhabitants on the outskirts of the town pose a threat to other travelers as they engage in theft and petty violence. Italian politicians on Saturday compared the move to the segregation policies under the South African government during its apartheid era. “Giving people different rights is called apartheid,” said Left, Ecology and Freedom party (SEL) leader, Nichi Vendola, calling on Gambino to “think again.”

The critics of the move also said marginalization will never be the solution and that answering violence by excluding people will not help. According to a 2012 Amnesty International (AI) report, Italy’s Roma people are still segregated and without prospects for integration. Hundreds of Roma people have been forcibly evicted in Rome and Milan and left homeless while ethnic segregation in camps is perpetuated and Gypsies remain largely excluded from social housing, the human rights watchdog said.


Italy strikes against Renzi labour reforms and cuts

Striking workers took to the streets in cities across Italy on Friday to protest against cuts to public services and labour reforms proposed by Prime Minister Matteo Renzi. The stoppages mainly affected the transport sector, with train and public bus travel disrupted and the budget airline EasyJet warning of possible cancellations after the USB union called a 24-hour strike. The protests were a prelude to a larger series of rallies called by Italy's biggest union, the CGIL, for Saturday. Renzi won backing in late September for proposals to change job protection rules that critics say deter companies from hiring new staff, contributing to chronic economic malaise.

Posters plastered around Rome and other Italian cities showed Renzi along with Fiat Chief Executive Sergio Marchionne and Public Administration Minister Marianna Madia with the slogan: "Let's send them home for just cause!"  European policymakers have applauded Renzi's proposals, which also aim to mend a labour market divide between "precarious" young workers with few employment rights and older employees whose jobs are rigidly protected. Unions and left-wing members of Renzi's own Democratic Party say the proposals undermine workers' rights and do nothing to address the underlying causes of decades of economic stagnation.

The protests also feed into wider discontent about the austerity policies, including heavy public spending cuts, adopted by governments to meet European Union budget rules.  Renzi said in a televised interview later on Friday that he respected the CGIL, but the planned demonstration did not discourage him. "The days when a street protest could block the government are gone. We won't budge a centimetre," Renzi told the La7 channel from a political meeting in the central Italian town of Florence, where he used to be mayor. The CGIL has likened Renzi to Margaret Thatcher, the former British prime minister who fought to weaken trade unions during the 1980s.


Italy’s public debt skyrockets to 134% of GDP

As the public debt of Italy, the world's third biggest, continues to grow exponentially, the European statistics agency has warned that it has reached nearly 134 percent of the country's gross domestic product in the second quarter of 2014, Press TV reports.The figure was more than 3 percent over the first quarter of 2014, showing that Italy is on the brink of a socio-economic breakdown. Media reported that the European Commission may see Italy's recently passed budget law, which features 18 billion euros in tax cuts, not compatible with the EU's Growth and Stability Pact. The European Commission has asked the Italian government for clarifications about its 2015 budget law.

The Brussels-based commission warned Italy that it risks deviating significantly from medium-term budget targets it had agreed with the European Union. “We have strongly criticized this budget law which won’t help at least economy at all. Quite the contrary, it will introduce new taxes,” Elio Lannutti, President of Adusbef Consumer Association, told Press TV. “However, the EU bureaucrat should be ashamed of the role they are playing on the side of the banks, undermining people’s livelihood, jobs and prospects of socio-economic development,” he added. On Friday, Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi said he hopes to agree a 2015 budget deal with the European Commission.

Some suspect that the EU and Italy's top officials only pretend to argue on economic issues, but that when push comes to shove they will just act as one party behind the scenes. Although official statistics indicate that the unemployment rate in Italy hovers over 12 percent, labor market experts insist that the situation is much more alarming. Over the past decade, Italy has been the slowest growing economy in the eurozone as tough austerity measures, spending cuts, and pension changes have stirred serious concerns for many people already grappling with the European country’s ailing economy.


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Emanuel Paparella2014-10-27 12:19:43
On the plight of the Roma people in Europe, of course the mayor of Rome is deluding himself if he thinks that segregation and the policies of fear will solve the problem of discrimination and distributive justice against a whole ethnic people. On the other hand, the analogy of the white lie comes to mind: many people see nothing wrong in a white lie said to get out of an inconvenience, until they themselves are the victims of a white lie. The same applies to petty thievery engaged by Roma people on the means of transportation in Rome. I was the victim of one such a few years ago; I did not feel very good about it. As I traveled by subway to the center (where the Coliseum is) I was surrounded by a group of distinctly Roma features and language. When I arrived at my destination I realized that my wallet with credit cards and cash in it was gone. I went to report the theft to the police and was told that the documents in the wallet would probably be returned, which to my hear sounded as a if a “professional run of the mill job had just occurred. The documents were never returned. Indeed, the solution is social justice which does not segregate people but gives them a stake in the common good. The common good cannot include thievery, but neither can it include bad distribution of wealth and the protecting of privileges at the exclusion of the common good.

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