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.

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.
Mae Kadoodie's picture

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

MrBinkeyWhat's picture

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

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.

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.

Cassandra Syndrome's picture

Greaseball Soap Opera Bitchez

Arius's picture

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

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!

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.

hedgeless_horseman's picture

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

nope-1004's picture

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




toady's picture

Too late! I already quit!

Sudden Debt's picture

Me Fired? YOU'RE FIRED!!




Version 7's picture

It's ZH grammar, correct from that perspective.

idea_hamster's picture

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

Sudden Debt's picture

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


oogs66's picture

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

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 ...

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!"

MrBinkeyWhat's picture

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


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.

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.

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

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. 

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.

digalert's picture

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

Hah, take that!

Arius's picture

freudian slip ??

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

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... 



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).



Jonas Parker's picture

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

Arius's picture

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

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.

monopoly's picture

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

Archimedes's picture

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

That is all....

Coffin Dodger's picture

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

toady's picture

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

iDealMeat's picture

Committing (political) suicide is punishable by death.


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.

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.

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?

scratch_and_sniff's picture

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

Agent P's picture

Anyone else think of Blazing Saddles when they read this?

tmosley's picture

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

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!

bernorange's picture

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