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Italy's Finance Minister Threatens To Quit If He Is Forced To Leave

Tyler Durden's picture


It was only last week when rumors that Italy's Finance Minister Giulio Tremonti was about to step down due to irreconcilable difference with the man who puts DSK's (alleged) sexual exploits to shame, pushed down Italian bank stocks. Today, The Guardian picks up where last week left off, and brings us the following scene from a real life version of The Office, wherein we learn that Tremonti, who now is hated in Italy and will soon join the Greek Finance Minister in being the target of a massive scapegoating campaign that will likely end in his termination, has just threatened to quit if calls for his resignation don't subside. Yes, it didn't make much sense to us either but whatever.

The Guardian brings the blow by blow:

His government colleagues can't stand him and Silvio Berlusconi wishes he could do without his deficit-obsessed finance minister who won't allow him to spend the money he hasn't got. Many Italian members of parliament blame him for the failure of the right in recent municipal elections and referendums. But Giulio Tremonti, who presented a €43bn ($62bn) austerity plan last week to balance the budget by 2014, believes that he is indispensable and without him, Italy would rapidly join the Pigs (Portugal, Ireland, Greece and Spain).

A former tax adviser, Giulio Tremonti, 63, has been finance minister in all four of Berlusconi's governments since 1994. Respected by the church as well as in business circles, and liked by Italians, he is the antithesis of his boss, and is known to tender his resignation at the slightest disagreement. Berlusconi, quite aware that Tremonti is his best asset on both the domestic and international front, refuses it each time.

To achieve his ends, Tremonti threatened to leave his ministry once again. "Do you want Italy to take the same road as Greece? If that's what you want, I'm leaving," was his reply to the complaints in his camp, notably by coalition Northern League MPs who would have preferred tax cuts. One minister even judged Tremonti's plan "worthy of a psychiatrist". Three meetings of senior government members were held before everyone finally agreed.

In the end the ratings agencies, highly criticised by Tremonti, came to his rescue. By threatening to downgrade their ratings on Italy because of its massive budget deficit (120% of GDP) and poor growth (0.1% in the first quarter), Standard & Poor's and Moody's obliged Berlusconi and his allies to pass another painful austerity plan, following a €25bn one in 2010.

At least with Greece it is the entire government that is holding the gun against its head and threatening to blow its head off if it doesn't get what it wants. Italy, naturally, had to take the soap opera just that much further, by making the split not between the government and the bankers, but between various factions within the government itself. And with Berlusconi's days potentially numbered, will Italy be the first country to openly usher in austerity only to realize it is not all fun and games. And lastly, should Tremonti really pull the trigger and quit, those ASSGEN CDS are going to come in very handy.


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Tue, 07/05/2011 - 12:01 | 1426652 Mae Kadoodie
Mae Kadoodie's picture

If he quits will he have to give up his unemployment benefits?

Tue, 07/05/2011 - 12:02 | 1426658 MrBinkeyWhat
MrBinkeyWhat's picture

Resignation...maybe; forced to leave...maybe; give up the perks...NEVER!

Tue, 07/05/2011 - 12:03 | 1426661 trampstamp
trampstamp's picture

Actually they probably will increase his benfits 100%... no strings attached.... well maybe only the one he can use to hang himself.

Tue, 07/05/2011 - 14:39 | 1427287 Sudden Debt
Sudden Debt's picture

After the Gold, Platinum, Palladium AND EVER RARE EARTH HANDSHAKE!

I don't think he gives a fuck if he gets unemployment or not.

Tue, 07/05/2011 - 12:02 | 1426653 Cassandra Syndrome
Cassandra Syndrome's picture

Greaseball Soap Opera Bitchez

Tue, 07/05/2011 - 12:27 | 1426732 Arius
Arius's picture

rumor has it Tremonti's wife is a silent supporter of Berlusconi's plan ... wonder why ???

Tue, 07/05/2011 - 12:03 | 1426657 TradingJoe
TradingJoe's picture

I think, IMHO, that the best course of action is to "watch what they do not what they say" and plan accordingly!

Tue, 07/05/2011 - 12:03 | 1426659 YesWeKahn
YesWeKahn's picture


Italy's Finance Minister Threatens To Quit If He Is Forced To Leave


There is no logic in this sentence. He will quit anyhow.

Tue, 07/05/2011 - 12:04 | 1426664 Tyler Durden
Tyler Durden's picture

You are correct

Tue, 07/05/2011 - 12:13 | 1426686 hedgeless_horseman
hedgeless_horseman's picture

Steve Zissou: If you're not against me, don't cross this line! If yes, do.

Tue, 07/05/2011 - 12:37 | 1426754 nope-1004
nope-1004's picture

"You can't quit, you're fired."




Tue, 07/05/2011 - 13:45 | 1427078 toady
toady's picture

Too late! I already quit!

Tue, 07/05/2011 - 14:42 | 1427302 Sudden Debt
Sudden Debt's picture

Me Fired? YOU'RE FIRED!!




Tue, 07/05/2011 - 13:33 | 1427017 carbonmutant
carbonmutant's picture

Yes we have no bananas...

Tue, 07/05/2011 - 12:07 | 1426669 Version 7
Version 7's picture

It's ZH grammar, correct from that perspective.

Tue, 07/05/2011 - 12:12 | 1426684 idea_hamster
idea_hamster's picture

On a long enough timeline, everyone quits and is forced to leave.

Tue, 07/05/2011 - 13:33 | 1427019 Sokhmate
Sokhmate's picture


Tue, 07/05/2011 - 14:45 | 1427311 Sudden Debt
Sudden Debt's picture

Only the lucky few are escorted out... only the lucky few...


Tue, 07/05/2011 - 12:13 | 1426691 oogs66
oogs66's picture

Good thing we have smart, logical, rational people like this running the finances of Europe.

Tue, 07/05/2011 - 12:32 | 1426747 Arius
Arius's picture

the logic is that he is basically push out ... no matter what he pretends on leaving or whatever ...

if you are appointed by Berlusconi as Minister of Finance dont tell me you got principles ... there is no logic there ...

Tue, 07/05/2011 - 13:15 | 1426940 cahadjis
cahadjis's picture

Really? :)

Tue, 07/05/2011 - 16:16 | 1427585 bernorange
bernorange's picture

This reminds me of that scene in Blazing Saddles where the new sheriff in town threatens to shoot himself if the townsfolk make any moves.

"Listen to him, men. He's just crazy enough to do it!"

Tue, 07/05/2011 - 12:04 | 1426663 MrBinkeyWhat
MrBinkeyWhat's picture

Going to go watch some Monty Python now. Much more sensible.


Tue, 07/05/2011 - 12:39 | 1426763 Larry Darrell
Larry Darrell's picture

After the past 3 years of newsflow, I'm beginning to disagree with the peasant from Holy Grail......


Supreme executive power derived by a mandate from the masses has taken a turn for the worse.  Let's get back to farcical aquatic ceremonies where moistened binks lob scimitars.

Tue, 07/05/2011 - 13:12 | 1426922 viahj
viahj's picture


Tue, 07/05/2011 - 12:09 | 1426667 Ghordius
Ghordius's picture

I repeat my warning: the sock puppet theater that Italians call politics is utterly incomprehensible from the outside.
Last year, Berlusconi looked like he would loose his throne by Christmas.
Now he looks good for until October.

Shortly before Summer this kind of spats are the norm, it's their way to air policy options to mull over during the hot months.

Tue, 07/05/2011 - 12:08 | 1426672 Paralympic Equity
Paralympic Equity's picture

I still don't get it...will he step down if we want him to do it, is all very confusing

Wed, 07/06/2011 - 12:51 | 1426703 Version 7
Version 7's picture

If he can make it, he'll quit rather than leave. If he doesn't manage to quit before being forced to it, then all things being equal he might just forceably leave before actually quitting. 

Tue, 07/05/2011 - 12:33 | 1426737 Ghordius
Ghordius's picture

It's multi-party politics.
The people that approve his policies (austerity) are not exactly the same people that put him there.

Tue, 07/05/2011 - 12:10 | 1426679 digalert
digalert's picture

Damn't, If I get banned from ZH, I'll never post here again.

Hah, take that!

Tue, 07/05/2011 - 12:37 | 1426756 Arius
Arius's picture

freudian slip ??

...doing my best to stirr up the pot ... :-)

Tue, 07/05/2011 - 14:52 | 1427334 Sudden Debt
Sudden Debt's picture

Your shrink mailed us your mental condition file... damn your fucked up...

You may stay.


Computers don't handle the surplus current that good... 



Tue, 07/05/2011 - 12:14 | 1426688 Kokulakai
Kokulakai's picture

 But Giulio Tremonti.... believes that he is indispensable and without him, Italy would rapidly join the Pigs (Portugal, Ireland, Greece and Spain).



Tue, 07/05/2011 - 12:13 | 1426689 Jonas Parker
Jonas Parker's picture

Now if Geithner and Bernake would both make the same threats....

Tue, 07/05/2011 - 12:46 | 1426791 Arius
Arius's picture

you assuming they disagree ... thats a stretch even for the helicopter pilot to claim ...

Tue, 07/05/2011 - 12:13 | 1426690 monopoly
monopoly's picture

This has got to be the most f____d up world in all my years on this planet.  What a crock this all is.

Tue, 07/05/2011 - 12:14 | 1426692 monopoly
monopoly's picture

Notice all how there is 0 volume....again. But Miners better.

Tue, 07/05/2011 - 12:15 | 1426694 Archimedes
Archimedes's picture

And in other news Oil should be back above $97 by tomorrow morning.

That is all....

Tue, 07/05/2011 - 12:16 | 1426698 Coffin Dodger
Coffin Dodger's picture

Where does this farce that is called our economic system end?

Tue, 07/05/2011 - 13:51 | 1427106 toady
toady's picture

The economic system WON'T quit before it is forced to resign.

Tue, 07/05/2011 - 12:21 | 1426710 iDealMeat
iDealMeat's picture

Committing (political) suicide is punishable by death.


Tue, 07/05/2011 - 12:25 | 1426722 Caravaggio
Caravaggio's picture

"..massive budget deficit (120% of GDP).." Do you believe any word "Guardian" says? Tremonti is not hated, but respected - even by his political oponents.

Tue, 07/05/2011 - 12:40 | 1426769 Ghordius
Ghordius's picture

Hahaha! What the Guardian hates is all the people supporting Berlusconi.
Who still has stellar approval rates.
Something the Guardian does not understand, since any English speaking politician with a sex scandal is toast.
And no, political opponents in Italy literally hate each other.

Tue, 07/05/2011 - 12:45 | 1426781 entendance
entendance's picture

you better read that

Tue, 07/05/2011 - 12:58 | 1426823 Ghordius
Ghordius's picture

Oh I love Beppe Grillo!
He is a truly gifted comic. Or at least he was.

I remember when the last Left-Coalition left Government and the last thing the Finance Minister did was to post all Italian's taxpayer's information.
Beppe was furious! His net worth was around some two digit Euro millions and he was scared for a moment this could hurt his standing towards his power base.

Look, I know it might be frustrating: nothing Beppe Grillo writes on his blog represents more than what perhaps 5% of the population thinks.

I repeat: from the outside (particularly from english speaking media), Italian politics is utterly incomprehensible. Polls prove that, have you counted how many times Berlusconi has won elections?

Tue, 07/05/2011 - 12:29 | 1426739 scratch_and_sniff
scratch_and_sniff's picture

Im warning you! if you dont stop spitting on me i will jump into that bucket of piss.

Tue, 07/05/2011 - 12:32 | 1426750 Agent P
Agent P's picture

Anyone else think of Blazing Saddles when they read this?

Tue, 07/05/2011 - 12:36 | 1426753 tmosley
tmosley's picture

Honestly, I think of that any time I read about finance or politics these days.

Tue, 07/05/2011 - 13:13 | 1426926 SheepDog-One
SheepDog-One's picture

Cant someone he'p that poor man? Do what he say! Lawdy do what he say! He might just be crazy enough to do it!

Tue, 07/05/2011 - 16:17 | 1427590 bernorange
bernorange's picture

Yep.  I just posted a comment to that effect.  First thing I thought of.

Tue, 07/05/2011 - 12:38 | 1426761 Leo Kolivakis
Leo Kolivakis's picture

DSK, what a malaka!

Tue, 07/05/2011 - 12:46 | 1426792 Fat Ass
Fat Ass's picture

Italy is a true mystery.  It is really impossible to understand it unless you live there - and even then...

It is a very confusing country.  By far (there is not even a comparison) it has the largest so-called "black" (ie, libertarian) economy of any region on Earth.  Nowhere else is even in the same league, there is nothing like it. Whole families, whole cities, are born and die with no connection at all to the "regular" economy. So, it's incredibly difficult to "really" understand the situation in Italy by looking at official stats, etc.

Asb little as 50 yrs ago, "Italy" was a total shithole - a zero. About as important as Ghana.

But suddenly, who knows why, it has essentially the best of everything - the best clothes, food, cars, manufacturing, agriculture, tourism, design ... why did it happen?

The rise in real standard of living on the ground in only 30 or 40 years is utterly unparalleled in human history - only modern Japan compares.

I have a feeling that the reason for all this staggering amazingness, is, simply that Italians just implicitly accept that "politicians" are idiot criminals and you have to ignore them and get on with your life.  Perhaps because the mafia is prevalent in the south, it's just natural to assume that "politicians" are also simply idiot criminals, not "a reality."

It's a mystery. Italy is basically the most mysterious country on Earth. Not more than 50, 60 yrs ago, it was not even a country - just a collection of shitholes stuck on a peninsula.  Now it's essentially the best place, in every possible field.  It's weird.

Tue, 07/05/2011 - 13:09 | 1426892 Ghordius
Ghordius's picture

Agree on all except on the "shitholes" parts. If you go back, it had the first banks, the first accounting methods, etc. etc. etc.

And a lot of foreign occupation, the French, the Austrians, the Spaniards. Makes it kind of difficult to be an Empire if you are occupied!
Not that Mussolini did not try to catch up...

I have never seen the "black economy" as libertarian before. Yes, I agree, this would explain it better to an American. Thanks for the "handle".

And yes, the "lovable rascals" that others call politicians give you a sound lesson in not trusting them!

Tue, 07/05/2011 - 12:49 | 1426801 A Man without Q...
A Man without Qualities's picture

You've got to hand it to him though, he'll always be a Milanese street hustler until the day he dies

"Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi unexpectedly scrapped a controversial measure included in the government's new fiscal-savings bill that could have allowed the premier's family-controlled holding company to avoid paying €750 million ($1.09 billion) in damages to a rival media company in a long-running court case."

Tue, 07/05/2011 - 13:04 | 1426876 PulauHantu29
PulauHantu29's picture

mmm...if I'm fired, I'll be forced to resign ....

Makes sense coming from a politican.

Tue, 07/05/2011 - 13:36 | 1427039 carbonmutant
carbonmutant's picture

Isn't this the kind of statement that encourages greater demand for his resignation?

Tue, 07/05/2011 - 14:24 | 1427234 Killer the Buzzard
Killer the Buzzard's picture

Anyone remember when the black sherrif threatened to shoot himself if the racist townsfolk didn't back down in "Blazing Saddles"?

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