It is increasingly clear that Italy’s public debt is unsustainable and needs an orderly restructuring to avert a disorderly default. The eurozone’s wish to exclude private sector involvement from the design of the new European Stability Mechanism is pigheaded – and lacks all credibility.
With public debt at 120 per cent of gross domestic product, real interest rates close to 5 per cent and zero growth, Italy would need a primary surplus of 5 per cent of GDP merely to stabilise its debt. Soon real rates will be higher and growth negative. Moreover, the austerity that the European Central Bank and Germany are imposing on Italy will turn recession into depression.