30 percent of Italians between the ages of 15 and 24 are out of work, more or less the same rate as in Spain but almost double the eurozone average.
Of those in work, the majority are on temporary contracts.
Nearly eight out of ten young Italians are in part-time work and unable to find full-time employment, the highest rate by far among large European economies. In France and Spain, it’s about 50 percent.
Italy spends far less on tertiary education that its neighbors. The result: only 27 percent of Italians in their thirties have a university degree, the second-lowest rate in the EU, where the average is 40 percent. Italy does especially poorly in educating migrants: just 13 percent of its foreign-born population has completed university against 36 percent in the EU as a whole.
Average real incomes are roughly at the level they were in 1995. In France, Germany and Spain, they have grown about 25 percent.
3.2 percent of working-age Italians now live elsewhere in the EU, up from 2.4 percent in 2008. Read more
Populists Overturn Labor Reforms in Italy
Italy’s ruling populists claim to have made good on their campaign promise to overturn the previous government’s labor reforms.
Reduces the maximum length of temporary work contracts from 36 to 24 months;
Reduces the times such contracts can be renewed from five to four; and
Introduces a requirement for employers to prove a temporary contract is still warranted after one year.
Italy’s National Institute for Social Security estimates that 8,000 temp workers could lose their jobs as a result of the changes, but the Five Star Movement and League have dismissed these figures as “unscientific” and “disputable”.
In the last year, Italy has added close to 460,000 jobs, 95 percent of which are on temporary contracts. Read more
Middle-Aged Men More Right-Wing, Iran Hawk Pompeo Sworn In
Lyman Stone writes in The American Interest that in both Germany and the United States (and I imagine in other Western democracies too, but I only know for sure about the Netherlands), men are more likely to vote for the far right than women. Middle-aged men in particular.
Stone volunteers various explanations:
Changes in the global economy have systematically disfavored historically male-dominated industries.
Men are more likely to take a protective or defensive view of nationhood.
Men are pulled toward more radical politics of many varieties and just happen to be ticked off at their former political home.
Stone also finds that support for Germany’s Alternative was lower in those parts of the former East Germany that were Prussian before communism and highest in Saxony, a state with a long history of radical politics.
“Radicalism, the appeal of revolutionary protest politics, is less about coherent policy platforms,” he argues, “and more about the appeal of mob, tribe and movement.” Read more
Rutte Cornered on Tax Cut, Why France and Germany Treat Trump Differently
Dutch prime minister Mark Rutte is in trouble.
When his latest government, a coalition of Christian and liberal parties, came to power in October, he claimed there was no paperwork to support its contention that the Netherlands needed to eliminate dividend tax altogether in order to remain competitive. Now it turns out the Finance Ministry did write a series of memos on the topic — and doubted the tax played a major role in multinationals’ decisionmaking.
The Finance Ministry produces a lot of memos when political parties are negotiating to form a government, so it is possible that Rutte didn’t see this one.
Except this was by far the most controversial policy of the new government. None of the governing parties had promised to cut dividend tax in their manifestos. There had been no public debate about it.
The suspicion in The Hague is that Rutte’s former employer, Unilever, and Royal Dutch Shell lobbied to get the tax removed.
Opposition parties have already called on Rutte to step down. That is unlikely. Prime minister since 2010, Rutte has a knack for talking his way out of problems and the ruling parties have no incentive to force him out. Read more
Italy’s Democrats Split, EU Victory for Macron, Doubts About Syria Strikes
Italy’s Democrats are split on whether to negotiate with the anti-establishment Five Star Movement.
At a party meeting on Tuesday, former ministers Dario Franceschini and Andrea Orlando argued for coalition talks.
The alternative, a Five Star government with the xenophobic (Northern) League, would make Italy look “like Hungary,” Franceschini said.
However, centrists loyal to the outgoing leader, Matteo Renzi, reject a deal.
Five Star leader Luigi Di Maio has said it is time to “bury the hatchet”. His talks with the League have not been going well. But the Five Stars still call for overturning Renzi’s signature labor reforms, which made it easier for firms to fire and hire workers. Read more
Posted-Workers Reform a Largely Symbolic Victory for Macron
French president Emmanuel Macron has convinced other EU countries to rein in employers’ ability to hire low-wage “posted” workers from Eastern Europe.
A majority of countries agreed this week to reform the Posted Workers Directive, which allows companies to temporarily “post” workers to another member state without abiding by its labor laws.
In future, such contracts will be limited to twelve months with an option to extend it for another six months at most. Read more
Macron a Failure Already?
Chris Bickerton makes a strong argument in The New York Times: Emmanuel Macron is on track to become yet another failed French president.
Bickerton, who teaches European politics at Cambridge University, knows France well. But here I think he misses the mark. Read more