Valentina Romei reports for the Financial Times that, despite economic improvements, Italy is still a laggard among its European peers.
She lists six economic challenges for the country’s next government.
- Slow growth: Italy is one of the few rich countries where output has not yet returned to pre-crisis levels.
- Low productivity: Means businesses need more and more workers to produce the same value of output as in other major economies.
- High public debt: Now 132 percent of GDP, making Italy’s the third-highest public debt in the developed world, after Japan and Greece.
- High bank debt: Italian banks make up the EU’s largest slice of non-performing loans, which curtail banks’ ability to lend.
- Youth unemployment: One in three Italians under the age of 25 are out of work. Italy also has second-lowest employment rate of recent graduates in the EU after Greece.
- Low foreign investment: Reforms have made it easier to start and run a business, but investment has yet to catch up.
- Parties are unlikely to make good on the generous spending promises they have made in their manifestos.
- Discontent, especially among the young, is the reason the anti-establishment Five Star Movement is polling in first place for the election in March.