The Milan-Sicily axis is part of the Italian opera

Monday, 23 July, 2012

From the theatre of the absurd that Italy has become, there’s this snippet from the weekend: “Sicily has now been dubbed ‘Italy’s Greece’, an island awash with misspent EU funds, state jobs traded for votes and a €5bn debt pile that some fear could push Italy’s delicate economy into the abyss. Union and business leaders last week implored the Italian prime minister, Mario Monti, to take control of Sicily’s disastrous local finances and, after credit rating agency Moody’s downgraded the island, Monti himself warned Sicily could default.” Fears over Sicily’s future as euro flow stops and bankruptcy looms.

Meanwhile, up in Milan they’re got different money woes. Some of these concern Stéphane Lissner, the General Manager and Artistic Director of the La Scala opera house. Lissner has been on the job since 2005 and he earns a basic salary of €449,000 a year, which, through bonuses and pension top ups, comes to a magnificent €800,000 annually. With La Scala in the red to the tune of €4.5 million and the country toying with financial breakdown, Lissner’s take home pay has struck some people as being a bit rich so he’s agreed to take a 10 percent cut in salary and 20 percent in bonus payments. Painful, of course, but he’ll manage, somehow. Both of these colourful stories should be noted, however, by those who might be pressed into bailing Italy out some day. Unwise.

Meanwhile, Spain is falling off the euro cliff.

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