It was a weekend “of frenetic political activity” in Italy, as NPR’s Sylvia Poggioli said on Morning Edition, and now the race is on there and in Greece to see if new governments can get those nations’ economies back on track and head off a further spread of the so-called eurozone crisis.
Italy’s Silvio Berlusconi stepped down as premier Saturday. He’s been replaced by economist Mario Monti (who is now “premier-designate”). In Greece, central banker Lucas Papademos has replaced George Papandreou as prime minister.
As Reuters says, now “technocrat leaders” are in charge in both countries and they’re rushing to show the world’s markets that they can address their nations’ troubles. Early today, according to The Financial Times, markets were “giving a tentative thumbs up” to Monti and the chances of progress in Italy at addressing its debt problem. But as the trading day in Europe has continued, “markets have backtracked,” the FT says. Stock index futures — a signal of how things will go today — are down slightly in New York.
Monti, Sylvia reports, told Italians that his government will focus on economic growth “with greater emphasis on social equity.” Berlusconi, she adds, appears “stunned by his rapid fall from government power.”