The Italian lower house voted on Thursday to back the European Union’s fiscal compact, giving the final parliamentary green light to the agreement reached by EU leaders in March to implement what critics describe as permanent austerity.
A separate vote on the European Stability Mechanism, the euro zone’s new bailout mechanism, was also due later Thursday completing Italy’s approval of two
of the main planks of the bloc’s strategy to loot the public purse and the pockets of citizens to save the banks .
Implementation of the 500 billion euro ESM, to which Italy has pledged 15 billion euros over five years, will depend on a decision in September by Germany’s
Constitutional Court, which is considering a challenge by right-wing and left-wing MPs, who cite a lack of democratic oversight and an erosion of the Berlin’s parliament’s budgetary powers.
The fiscal compact requires a balanced budget, rules best designed for a small grocer’s store rather than a nation state.
By accepting the pact, Italy and the 24 other signatories (Britain and the Czech Republic were the only EU members not to sign the treaty) also agreed to “semi-automatic” sanctions to be triggered if they break out of the budgetary straight-jacket.
Furthermore, countries with a public debt of over 60% of gross domestic product must bring it under that threshold within 20 years.
For Italy, with a national debt of around 120% of GDP, this means collosal cuts of 45 billion euros of debt annually for the next two decades, condemning the country to an eternal economic depression, argue Italy’s Communists, who do not have any parliamentary seats.
Despite the implications for Italian democracy, sovereignty and the misery it will bring to millions of Italian citizens, there was practically no debate about the EU Fiscal Compact in Italy’s lower parliament Thursday nor before the Senate vote last week. Among the parties that voted in favour of it was the ‘centre-left’ Democrats, the country’s second largest party. Only the right-wing, racist, Northern League voted against.