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Analysis and Comment (50)

Italian striker Mario Balotelli is a pioneer in a society that still struggles to accept its multiethnic composition. Italian striker Mario Balotelli is a pioneer in a society that still struggles to accept its multiethnic composition. EPA/Kai Foersterling

Super Mario: can Balotelli defy racism to be Italy’s World Cup hero?

Mario Balotelli is already an international football star and has the potential to become one of Italy’s greatest ever strikers. But is Italy ready to accept a black player as its next football hero? Balotelli…
Mario, we only need to win 1-0. Mario, we only need to win 1-0. Ettore Ferrari

Dirty, defensive, boring? Italy’s football reputation is undeserved

For much of its more than 100-year history, Italian football has been dogged by stereotypes. It has been seen as defensive, cynical, as lacking in “fair play”. These stereotypes have often applied to Italian…
The EU election result will affect Matteo Renzi’s domestic reform programme. The EU election result will affect Matteo Renzi’s domestic reform programme. EPA/Ian Langsdon

EU election: first electoral test for new PM Renzi in Italy

In Italy, as elsewhere, elections for the European parliament have always tended to be “second order”. This means that voters see them as less important than the “first-order” elections for the national…
Bribe me Berly one more time! Bribe me Berly one more time! Chris Ratcliffe/PA

Europe’s elites are more like Berlusconi than you think

Silvio Berlusconi has finally learned the outcome of being found guilty of tax fraud last May. He was originally sentenced to four years in prison, but Italian law prevents over-70s from doing prison time…
These boots weren’t made for walking. These boots weren’t made for walking. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London

Inside the V&A’s celebration of high-end Italian luxury and glamour

What do you think of when Italian fashion is mentioned? Versace’s shiny, gold Medusa-head logo? Armani’s sleek, unstructured tailoring? Prada’s textural, ladylike sportswear? Or maybe Jeremy Scott’s recent…
Italian prime minister Matteo Renzi. Italian prime minister Matteo Renzi. EPA/Julien Warnand

Italy’s best-ever shot at political reform is no sure thing

On 12 March, Italy’s Chamber of Deputies approved proposals for major electoral reform, which must now be passed by the senate. The proposals are the fruit of a cross-party agreement that has given Italy…
“Wenders meets Fellini” in The Great Beauty. “Wenders meets Fellini” in The Great Beauty. Courtesy of Palace Films

Does The Great Beauty signal an Italian film renaissance?

Paolo Sorrentino’s film The Great Beauty is one of the five films nominated in the category of best foreign film in the 2014 Academy Awards, which take place on March 2. If it wins, the Oscar will follows…
Amanda Knox in the hands of the Italian police. Amanda Knox in the hands of the Italian police. Antonio Calanni/AP

Knox case has put the Italian legal system on trial in the US

Amanda Knox has faced three verdicts in six years over a case in which it was alleged she was part of a brutal knife attack on Meredeth Kercher in Perugia in 2007 that resulted in her death. Although Knox…
A World Bank report gives a hopeful forecast for global growth. A World Bank report gives a hopeful forecast for global growth. Image sourced from www.shutterstock.com

Growth spurt hopes for global economy, but challenges remain

The World Bank’s Global Economic Prospects report released this week is moderately optimistic about the short-term outlook of the global economy. World Bank economists anticipate an improvement in most…
After 20 years, Silvio Berlusconi’s greatest legacy is a country in shambles, without a future and hope. After 20 years, Silvio Berlusconi’s greatest legacy is a country in shambles, without a future and hope. EPA/Guido Montani

Enough of the failed fable of the martyr Silvio Berlusconi

On Wednesday evening, the Italian Senate forced former prime minister Silvio Berlusconi to step down as a senator. In typical Italian fashion, the day of reckoning for Berlusconi lasted almost four months…
Ultras: a fireman’s worst nightmare. Ultras: a fireman’s worst nightmare. MJwho

Italy’s ultras: death threats, local pride and footballing farce

The derby match between Salernitana and Nocerina started strangely. Played in the third tier of Italian football, the match saw three Nocerina substitutions after just three minutes. Soon, another Nocerina…
Survivors of last week’s Lampedusa boat sinking, which is estimated to have left hundreds of African migrants dead. What can Australia learn from the tragedy? Survivors of last week’s Lampedusa boat sinking, which is estimated to have left hundreds of African migrants dead. What can Australia learn from the tragedy? EPA/Ettore Ferrari

The Lampedusa asylum tragedy and the lessons for Australia

The recent event of yet another boat sinking off the coast of Lampedusa in Italy resulted in the death of hundreds of migrants with still more unaccounted for. Despite the tyranny of distance, the incident…
An unspeakable loss. An unspeakable loss. EPA/Franco Lannino

Italy ignores real cause of Lampedusa refugee tragedy

The latest in a “succession of true slaughters of innocents”. This is how Italian president Giorgio Napolitano described the incident in which hundreds of migrants, mainly from Eritrea and Somalia, died…
Despite not holding an official cabinet position, Silvio Berlusconi will exert a great deal of influence over Italy’s newly-formed government. Despite not holding an official cabinet position, Silvio Berlusconi will exert a great deal of influence over Italy’s newly-formed government. EPA/Pier Paolo Ferreri

He did it again: how Berlusconi managed to keep power in Italy

Under the leadership of re-elected president Giorgio Napolitano, a “grand coalition” of the centre-left Democratic Party (PD) and the centre-right coalition of parties - headed by Silvio Berlusconi - has…
Beppe Grillo could be a victim of his own success. Beppe Grillo could be a victim of his own success. EPA/Massimo Percossi

Too much too young for Italy’s Five-Star Movement?

“Paris is worth a mass”, replied my friend, citing Henry IV’s probably apocryphal comment on his conversion to Catholicism in order to break the religious impasse in sixteenth-century France. She was explaining…
Leader of the Five Star movement, Beppe Grillo, rode a wave of unexpected popularity to obtain one quarter of the votes in Italy’s House of Representatives. Leader of the Five Star movement, Beppe Grillo, rode a wave of unexpected popularity to obtain one quarter of the votes in Italy’s House of Representatives. AAP

Italy’s post-election nightmare: stalemate sinks growth hopes

The economic troubles of Italy are largely homegrown. Some might argue that they have been made worse by the fiscal austerity measures adopted under pressure from the European Union. But the truth is that…
Former Italian Prime Minister and leader of the People of Freedom party Silvio Berlusconi’s comeback has left Italy with a hung parliament. Former Italian Prime Minister and leader of the People of Freedom party Silvio Berlusconi’s comeback has left Italy with a hung parliament. Mike Palazzotto/EPA

Berlusconi’s rise and the search for stable government in Italy

A Berlusconi led right-wing coalition has delivered a shock in the Italian elections, taking 30% of the vote and winning the senate in the key regions of Lombardy, Sicily and Veneto. Berlusconi was trailing…
Regardless of who wins the 2013 election, citizens and commentators alike are pessimistic about Italy’s economic outlook. Regardless of who wins the 2013 election, citizens and commentators alike are pessimistic about Italy’s economic outlook. AAP

Italy at the crossroads: desperately seeking government in a time of crisis

Italy has had several crucial elections in the past. In 1946, right after the end of World War II, citizens were called to decide between Republic and Monarchy. Two years later, the 1948 general election…
Italy is in an economic and political mess, with or without the leadership of Mario Monti (pictured), who announced his resignation this week. Italy is in an economic and political mess, with or without the leadership of Mario Monti (pictured), who announced his resignation this week. AAP

Exit the technocrat, enter the populist? Europe braces for next act in Italian drama

For a little longer than a year, the “technical” government of Mario Monti was supported by a vast and heterogeneous coalition: the centre-right People of Freedom Party of Silvio Berlusconi (PDL), the…
The families of the interned men of the Caminiti clan in Queensland, circa 1940. The families of the interned men of the Caminiti clan in Queensland, circa 1940. Supplied

When ethnicity counts: civilian internment in Australia during WW2

When Fascist Italy declared war on Britain in mid-1940, almost 5,000 Italians living in Australia were imprisoned in internment camps. Few Italian families escaped the human cost of detention as “enemy…
Germany’s triple A rating has been given a negative outlook by ratings agency Moody’s, amid ongoing woes in Greece, Spain and Italy. Germany’s triple A rating has been given a negative outlook by ratings agency Moody’s, amid ongoing woes in Greece, Spain and Italy. AAP

From the periphery to the core: the unstoppable journey of the Euro debt crisis

On 23 July, the rating agency Moody’s put the triple A debt of Germany, the Netherlands, and Luxembourg on a negative outlook. The day after, the outlook on the European Financial Stability Fund was also…
Will super Mario Draghi, President of the European Central Bank, come to the Eurozone’s rescue? Will super Mario Draghi, President of the European Central Bank, come to the Eurozone’s rescue? AAP

It will take courage to end the Eurozone crisis

Today Eurozone leaders will meet in Brussels. On the agenda is nothing less than the survival of the euro. Officially, it is about Spain: Spain’s economic and financial woes show the urgency. Moody’s drastically…
Economic policies – not credit ratings – will determine the future of the euro. Economic policies – not credit ratings – will determine the future of the euro. AAP

The Eurozone’s future rides on Italy’s actions, not S&P’s ratings

The decision by Standard and Poor’s to downgrade the debt of nine Eurozone countries last week, followed by the inevitable downgrade of the Eurozone rescue fund two days later, raises important questions…
Spain, Italy, Portugal and Greece face serious problems without EU-wide financial reform. Spain, Italy, Portugal and Greece face serious problems without EU-wide financial reform. AAP

While Rome burns, it’s time for some monetary and fiscal fiddling

Every year, on the evening of December 31, the President of the Republic of Italy addresses the Italian people with a video message broadcast by all the major radio and television networks. This “end of…
Merkel, Sarkozy and Monti must accept drastic fiscal reforms if they want to save the Eurozone. Merkel, Sarkozy and Monti must accept drastic fiscal reforms if they want to save the Eurozone.

Europe’s economies must pull together before they fall to pieces

The announcement by credit ratings agency Standard & Poor’s overnight that it could downgrade the triple-A rating of Europe’s debt rescue fund has battered market confidence, which had been buoyed…
Italian-Australians deserve an apology for their mistreatment in internment camps in World War II. Italian-Australians deserve an apology for their mistreatment in internment camps in World War II. Australian War Memorial Collection

Why Australia must apologise to Italians interned during World War II

Last month, the South Australian parliament unanimously accepted a bi-partisan motion moved by Labor member, Tony Piccolo, to acknowledge the wrongful internment of Italian civilians living in Australia…
Despite happy appearances, the two leaders disagree the way out of the Eurozone crisis. Despite happy appearances, the two leaders disagree the way out of the Eurozone crisis. AAP

A make-or-break week: Can Sarkozy and Merkel save the euro?

What could be a decisive week for Europe and its common currency has begun, with the announcement of a package of fiscal austerity measures in Italy. Markets, European partners, and – perhaps above all…
The European Central Bank needs to start buying more bonds from Eurozone countries. The European Central Bank needs to start buying more bonds from Eurozone countries. Images_of_Money

With Italy stagnant, it’s time for drastic Euro intervention

The departure of Silvio Berlusconi does not seem to have eased the pressure on Italy, with reports suggesting the International Monetary Fund is reading a 600 billion euro emergency bailout for the Eurozone’s…
Mussolini made the trains run on time. But having a strong leader is risky. Mussolini made the trains run on time. But having a strong leader is risky. Flickr/Galaxy FM

Forget politicians - be a dictator for a day and get the job done

“If I Ruled The World” was a tune made famous decades ago by English comedian and singer Harry Secombe who sang of making every day the first day of spring as well as other miraculous improvements. It…
The eurozone crisis is moving beyond “spendthrift” countries in need of rescue, to the rescuers themselves. The eurozone crisis is moving beyond “spendthrift” countries in need of rescue, to the rescuers themselves. AAP

Heart of darkness – entering the Eurozone’s end game

Early this week, sovereign bonds spreads for France and other Euro-core countries peaked. Around noon on Tuesday the spreads on French and Austrian 10-year government bonds exceeded the German bund rate…
Former EU commissioner Mario Monti will form government in Italy as Silvio Berlusconi exits. Former EU commissioner Mario Monti will form government in Italy as Silvio Berlusconi exits. AAP

Here come the technocrats, to save the Eurozone

Is the Eurozone about to crash and burn, leaving Club Med in its wake? Not so fast. Reports have suggested that French President Nicolas Sarkozy and German Chancellor Angela Merkel have discussed a strategic…
Italy’s debt woes will not disappear after Berlusconi finally steps down. Italy’s debt woes will not disappear after Berlusconi finally steps down. AAP

As the Eurozone teeters, Italy has no time to waste

Global markets have tumbled in the past 24 hours on fears over Italy’s worsening debt crisis, with media reports that Germany and France have begun talks to break up the Eurozone if the monetary union’s…
Berlusconi’s resignation is one step towards solving Italy’s debt crisis – but many more are needed. Berlusconi’s resignation is one step towards solving Italy’s debt crisis – but many more are needed. AAP

Berlusconi’s going, but there’s no Silvio bullet for Italy’s debt

Italy’s sovereign debt crisis has been overshadowed by Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi’s reluctant promise to resign after the country’s parliament made clear he no longer commanded a majority. Italy…
Italy’s disturbing debt-to-GDP ratio has been decades in the making. Italy’s disturbing debt-to-GDP ratio has been decades in the making. AAP

Don’t blame the Eurozone for Italy’s homegrown debt crisis

During protests in Rome last month, as groups of hooded protesters clashed with the police, set cars on fire, and smashed bank windows around the Piazza San Giovanni, two large speakers installed on a…
Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi’s austerity measures are misdirected and too dramatic. Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi’s austerity measures are misdirected and too dramatic. AAP

As Moody’s trashes Italy, voters can’t count on Berlusconi

The move by international ratings agency Moody’s to cut Italy’s credit rating for the first time in two decades will do little to ease concerns about the Eurozone’s debt crisis, despite global markets…
Silvio Berlusconi has blamed international economic conditions for Italy’s worsening crisis. Silvio Berlusconi has blamed international economic conditions for Italy’s worsening crisis. AAP

As Italy’s debt crisis deepens, is Berlusconi turning a blind eye?

Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi’s reassurance to his parliamentary colleagues during a speech on Wednesday did little allay about fears of a crisis in Eurozone’s third-biggest economy. The Italian…
Nicolas Sarkozy, Christine Lagarde and Angela Merkel share a joke at Thursday’s Greece bailout talks. Nicolas Sarkozy, Christine Lagarde and Angela Merkel share a joke at Thursday’s Greece bailout talks. AAP

Greece is safe for now; but could Italy push Europe over the edge?

European leaders signed off on a second, 109 billion euro bailout for Greece overnight, while also establishing what has been described as an “infant monetary fund” to intervene if the bloc’s sovereign…

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