There is much to protest about these days and many people prepared to do so. Protesting can and does take many forms. The Vatican City home of the head of the Holy Roman Catholic Chrurch, the Pope, has experienced protesters in recent days. Today one protester has gone a step further.
A disgruntled Italian restauranteur, who has obviously had his fill of the continuing EU austerity measures, has scaled St Peter's Basilica in Rome.
49-year-old Marcello de Finizio from Trieste is no stranger to unusual protests. In July 2012 he managed to scale St Peter's and spent four hours in situ until police finally coaxed him down. His latest anti EU protest has lasted around 12 hours so far.
Marcello managed to access St Peter's by mingling with a group of tourists. He then jumped over railings so that he was on on outside ledge. There he has stayed. He has draped a banner stating his message. It reads, Help!!! Enough with [Prime Minister Mario Monti], Enough with Europe, Enough with multinationals. You are killing us all. Development?
It is easy to see where his sentiment is coming from and who it is aimed at. Mario Monti is yet one more bureaucrat expecting people to roll over and succumb to poverty. He is a non elected leader of Italy and as such has no right to rule as he does, in a so called democratic country. We are, it seems, quick to preach democracy in the Middle East but even quicker to forgoe it in the West.
The authorities are trying to persudae Mr Finizio to come down peacefully. He is high above the ground and his position is precarious. He must however feel that he has little to lose now.
EU appointed Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti has today, July 17, 2012, voiced concerns over Sicily. The Island off the coast of Italy is an autonomous region but most people in the EU will view it as part of Italy.
The latest is that Sicilian financial affairs are struggling. In fact they are at rock bottom. Monti has said that he expects the Governor of Sicily, Raffaele Lombardoto to resign. Monti has written to the Governor al but demanding that he resign by the end of the month.
According to Monti it would seem that Sicily looks set to default. Pundits are predicting that other Italian regions such as Calabria, Campania, Lazio, Abruzzo, Tuscany, Lombardy, Umbria, Liguria, and Veneto will follow suit. This will mean resignations galore and worries over Italian bonds with no resolution in sight.
Fitch has however said that Monti has no idea what he is talking about and that Sicily is far from doomed as he claims. What on earth is going on?
Ongoing story with more to follow.......
Tags: Sicily, default, EU politics, Mario Monti, EU crisis
Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou has, November 2, 2011, been summoned to France by Nicolas Sarkozy and Angela Merkel. Such is the dominance of the Eurozone, by Germany and France, that these two leaders have summoned George Papandreou, like a naughty school boy. Maybe it is the fact that both of these countries stand to lose out financially, big time, if Greece defaults on its debts.
A meeting of the G20 leaders was already scheduled for Cannes, France, Thursday November 3, 2011. US President Obama will join the group, leaving the USA early this evening. George Papandreaou will take part in a special emergency meeting regarding his announcement of a Greek referendum
French Prime Minister Nicolas Sarkozy made a televised announcement to the French yesterday saying, "This announcement, that is a possible Greek referendum, took all of Europe by surprise". I bet it did. With France due to host the latest meeting of the G20 tomorrow, it may be the perfect time for Sarkozy, Merkel and Papandreou to hold a meeting and thrash out any differences.
Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou and Finance Minister Evangelos Venizelos will meet with the top Eurozone leaders. All EU leaders it seems will be in France to discuss both Eurozone matters and G20 affairs. All have been summoned as the situation as far as some are concerned, is now grave.
A short while ago France and Germany made it plain that last week's debt deal is not up for re-negotiation.
Papandreou and his party may not yet be out of the political woods in Greece just yet. The "unanimous support" offered for a referendum did not have the wholehearted support of his own politicians. This means that it is unlikely he could survive a vote of confidence in the Greek Parliament.
Update: 23.00 GMT November 2, 2011
The latest news is that Angela Merkel has told George Papandreou that a referendum must ask the Greek people whether or not they want to stay in the EU. Maybe it is part of a double bluff. Greece will be out on a limb withou7jt the EU and yet in other ways that could be countries best chance.
If Greece defaults on its debts it will remain in the EU and cause more headaches for Eurozone leaders. At least this way if the debt deal is not accepted Greece could also leave the EU. The news is ongoing and it seems currently that a battle royale is under way. As a small country, Greece would not normally be invited to attend the G20, yet of course G20 leaders will be able to decide the country's fate.
Back in Athens the Greek Parliament is reported to have begun its 3-day debate, as to whether or not it has confidence in Papandreou and his cabinet. The Prime Minster will want to be home as soon as possible, no doubt, to plead his case. Then again he may not. Few can surely envy Papandreou his position of power right now.
As Greek people face an ever shrinking income they are looking toward old methods of trade.
Russia Today has reported that the ""barter system" is undergoing a surge in popularity in Greece. This early form of trade served the world well centuries ago. As trade and skills developed it became more cost effective to create a different form of payment, that is money. Now for some money has had its day.
Currencies have come a long way since those ancient times but perhaps it is still the "root of all evil" No matter what you feel there is no denying that the global economy is in trouble.Of course this is not the first time it has struggled but people are rather different these days. Most are not prepared to have their one life ruined by the actions of others. That is unless there are no alternatives.
So some Greeks are finding that "time" can have as much value as cash. Goods, services and skills are being exchanged and for some it seems to work. Those who have little money are finding that their skills may get them what they want.
The Greek Time Bank is one Greek venture that is utilising the barter system. A spokesperson said, “In the Time Bank we exchange voluntary services.Sometimes I give painting lessons for free but I take yoga for free also. It’s huge, it’s everything we do without money. It’s looking after people and making things ourselves.”
Kudos to those taking part who are attempting to survive well in spite of the country's austerity measures.As the Greek economic downturn bites Greek society is finding divisions which will be hard to heal. Barter may not solve everyone's problems but for some it is offering a huge helping hand, without the involvement of the government, the banks and the fat cats.