Protests against Eurozone bailout fund reform hit Rome

Adherence to the European Stability Mechanism (ESM) by Italy is likely to make way for more austerity measures and policies of structural adjustments, as stipulated by the European Union

December 18, 2019 by Peoples Dispatch
Workers' protest Italy
Protests in Rome against the Eurozone bailout fund reforms proposed under the European Stability Mechanism (ESM). (Photo: Contropiano.org)

On Wednesday, December 11, leftist groups in Italy organized a sit-in protest in Rome opposing the government’s adherence to the proposed Eurozone bailout fund reforms. The Italian government’s approval of the European Stability Mechanism (ESM) has created significant unrest among the Italian working class.

Reforms to the Eurozone sovereign bonds were proposed following a meeting of the Eurozone finance ministers earlier in June, to smooth the allocation of the bailout fund – the European Stability Mechanism (ESM). According to the proposal, ESM is projected as a European Monetary Fund that would make support for countries in financial crisis conditional on them restructuring their debt. Working-class sections in Italy have raised concerns regarding Italy’s adherence to the ESM that requires implementation of severe austerity measures and policies of structural adjustments, as stipulated by the EU, in case of financial crisis. Experts have pointed out that such measures will have a detrimental effect on the Italian working class which is already in distress.

On Wednesday, the Guiseppe Conte led-coalition government in the country,  comprised of the Five Star Movement (M5S) and the Democratic Party (PD), extended their support to the ESM in the Italian parliament. Ironically the right-wing party League, led by Matteo Salvini – who supported the ESM when he was part of the ruling coalition months back – raised objections to the mechanism, evidently to score some political vantage points over the ruling coalition.

In their joint appeal, the leftist groups in Rome including the Eurostop platform, the Base Unions in Italy (USB), Power to the People, the Italian Communist Party (PCI), the Communist Refoundation Party, FGCI, declared that “the EMS, born on the basis of an international treaty, is yet another piece of the Europeanist architecture aimed at exacerbating the inequalities between states and between social classes within states, to strangle the populations of those countries not in line with the strict budgetary discipline imposed by Brussels, and, a real boon for those banks that hold illiquid securities in the belly, or derivative financial products, and that can use them to solve the heavy problems they face”.

Marco Rizzo, secretary of the Partito Comunista (PC), also condemned the “approval of ESM in the Italian parliament, dictated by the EU, against workers and the Italian people.”

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