Tag Archives: Italy

President of the European Council Charles Michel and EU Secretary General of the EU Council  Jeppe Tranholm-Mikkelsen during a video conference with EU leaders yesterday

This morning.

Via BBC:

For ordinary people, frightened for their health, the safety of their loved ones, worrying about their rent and feeding their family after businesses shut down, the idea that Europe’s leaders spent six hours on Thursday night, squabbling over the wording of their summit conclusions in order to defer a key decision over coronavirus funds, will be incomprehensible.

Spain and Italy – ravaged by the effects of the virus on their populations and their limited public finances – were deeply disappointed. Italy was already one of the EU’s most Eurosceptic member states before Covid-19 hit.

Italian Twitter was littered with expletives on Thursday – and those were just the posts from politicians.

Coronavirus: Can EU get a grip on crisis? (BBC)

Meanwhile

Now, its economy is at an enforced standstill in an effort to break the back of the epidemic. But its troubles won’t end when the virus has run its course. Given the prominence of tourism in the Italian economy (13 percent of Italy’s GDP versus 8.6 percent of Germany’s), the country faces a much harder long-term headwind to return to prosperity than many other EU states.

These would be daunting problems for a country with sovereign control of its currency. But Italy, as a Eurozone member, does not have any such control.

The Italian state cannot print money to sustain its citizenry while the economy is in lockdown. It has to beg Brussels for permission to spend — and Europe’s finance ministers are bickering about the terms under which such spending would be permitted in much the same manner that America’s senators have been.

Will the EU survive coronavirus? (The Week)

Pic via EU

Merda.

Coronavirus, ragazzi italiani positivi bloccati a Dublino: seguivano un corso per assistenti di volo Ryanair (Il Messaggero)

 

Hueston Station, Dublin this morning

This morning.

Minister for Health Simon Harris spoke to Bryan Dobson  on RTÉ Radio One’s Morning Ireland.

It followed a decision of the National Health Emergency Team last night, that people returning from Spain and Italy will be given leaflets at Irish airports in which they’ll be encouraged to restrict their movements for the next two weeks, specifically to not go to work and to lessen their social contacts.

In regards to people returning from Cheltenham, Mr Harris said they will get information about symptoms.

The Health Minister also said:

“We’re more likely to get this virus in our home from bad practice in terms of hand hygiene and the like, so do please follow the health advice. You have a really important role to play.”

Of the closures announced yesterday, he said:

“They’re in place now until the 29th of March, they’ll be reviewed right through the process and reviewed again on the 29th of March. If they need to be extended they will be but we need see. We’ve taken some very, very significant measures that are asking people in our country to alter their behaviour quite significantly for the next fortnight. We’ll only obviously continue those measures if it’s absolutely necessary and if they’re proving to have a benefit.

“So at this stage it’s too early to say [if they closures be extended for a longer period of time].”

“….It is an absolutely reality that this is something that could be with us for many, many months and we have to be conscious when we’re taking those measures as well, that measures we take have to be sustainable. We have to try to keep our country going, not to put our country into lockdown, we need people to go to work today and we need people to bake the bread and supply our supermarkets and we need our healthcare professionals to get to work.

“And we need to look after each other as well. So all of the measures we’re taking have to be seen through that prism.

This is not a storm that goes away after a couple of days. This is asking people to alter our behaviour and change our lives for quite a period of time ahead.”

He also said:

“We have a suite of measures but we have to implement them at the right time and I think what we’ve now shown is a willingness to do that, to listen and to act quickly and decisively and we’ll continue to do that.

Obviously all of the measures that have been put in place could be scaled up, if the need arose so we have banned gatherings indoors of 100 people, outdoors of 500 people, there’s obviously potential to do that,

“But what we won’t be doing is kind of strongman, macho politics movements where you’re looking like you’re doing something for he sake of doing something. We’ll be following the science here, we’ll be following the doctors’ advice, we’ll be listening to the chief medical officer and we’ll be acting.”

“…It’s very much a marathon not a sprint. Our country is not in lockdown. This is still, the same great country it was yesterday. We’re just asking everybody to live their lives a little bit differently so that we can try and make a real national collective effort.”

Listen back in full here

What about rents, anyone?

EARLIER:

Coronavirus: Italy suspends mortgage payments amid lockdown (Independent.co.uk)

Meanwhile…

Getty

Earlier: Locking Everything Down

Italian deputy Prime Minister Matteo Salvini

Italy’s populist government is standing firm on its new budget proposals, but it could now pay the price for doing so with the EU launching disciplinary measures against the country.

The European Commission — the EU’s legislative arm — said that Italy’s 2019 draft budget does not comply with the EU’s requirement that member states work to reduce their debt piles.

As such, the Commission will now launch what’s known as an “Excessive Deficit Procedure” that could lead to Italy being fined.

Italy’s Deputy Prime Minister Matteo Salvini remained defiant after the news, saying he will talk to the Commission “politely, as always, but will carry on.”

Who would want to leave such a club?

Pause.

Combattimento!

EU begins disciplinary procedures against Italy after rejecting its controversial budget plans (CNBC)

Pic: Getty

Venice, Italy yesterday

Winds of up to 180km/h (110 mph) were reported, and two tornadoes ripped through the centre of the coastal town of Terracina, killing one person and leaving 10 others injured.

In the canal city of Venice, rising floodwaters overwhelmed many of its famed squares and walkways, with officials saying as much as 75% of the city is now submerged.

Venice under water as deadly storms hit Italy (BBC)

Pic: Getty

The bridge, built in the 1960s, stands on the A10 toll motorway and is known as the Morandi bridge. The missing section was dozens of metres in length, and ran across the span of the Polcevera stream.

Italian newspaper La Repubblica described that part of the city as “densely inhabited”.

The structure collapsed shortly before noon local time (10:00 GMT) during heavy rain.

An eyewitness told Italian public television there was a queue of traffic on the bridge at the time. Initial reports indicate there may be people trapped in the rubble.

Italy bridge: Genoa motorway bridge collapses ‘killing at least 10’ (BBC)

Pics via Antonello Guerrara


Scenes from this year’s Palio in Siena, Italy

There are just two Palios in Siena, Italy every year.

The second one is on tomorrow, August 16.

The first one in July was visited by photographer Donal Moloney.

Donal writes:

One local described it to me as “Palio is life”. It seems that there are far more important things about this event than it just being a 14th century horse race. I was there 4 days and only began to understand the real meaning of Palio and what it is to be Sienese.

Palio has been on my bucket list for many years but I’ve always feared arriving and not being able to get the camera angles I want. The spectacle lasts just 90 seconds but the square in Siena is used for trials and ceremony the entire week leading up to the event.

There are 17 districts (Contradas) that compete twice a year at Il Palio (one in July, one in August). 10 contrada are chosen to compete at each main event. Horses are only assigned by the Mayor three days prior by lottery. 30 horses are used in trials on the Thursday of which 10 are chosen. They then gallop around the square twice a day in preparation. Only then do the jockeys don the colour of the contrada they represent.

Sounds complicated? It is! Add to that the skullduggery, bribery and corruption that goes on behind the scenes and you get even more confused. This is all part of the Palio.

Three months earlier I found a man online who charges a lot of money for such privileges. 15,000 people cram the square on race day and I get myself a good position on San Martino bend.

It’s 5pm and the sun is beating down on me. I’ve barely room to swing a cat but I’m pumping with adrenaline. Four hours later, endless delays and they’re off in near darkness.

Three laps of the square and it’s over. I jump the barrier with my gear on my back and run down the track into the oncoming horses to get a shot of the victorious jockey before the Italian press photographers get there.

It’s mayhem as I beat my way as close as I can to him. Men are shouting and crying with joy as they greet their hero.

I’m suddenly part of their contrada and I end up leaving the scene with them to the church where both jockey and horse will be given benediction by the parish priest. Jaysuz lads, ye couldn’t make it up.

Donal Moloney (Facebook)