One of the world's strongest economies and a European Union powerhouse, Italy may be on the verge of financial collapse, said Italian officials expressing a growing concern about the ongoing financial meltdown that is affecting all sectors of the country's ailing economy.
“The threat of bankruptcy of our national economy should be considered real,” Italian Minister of Welfare Maurizio Sacconi said as he and other officials sounded the alarm in a TV broadcast on Wednesday evening during a discussion about the world's economic crisis.
“A bankruptcy scenario is even more horrifying than the recession one,” Sacconi, who is also an associate of the Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, warned.
Contrary to what many of his governmental colleagues were saying, Minister of Economy and Finance Giulio Tremonti countered that the economic situation was not dire. Trying to tame the intense public panic that Sacconi caused with the statement, Tremonti said in an interview for the Peruvian La Republica newspaper that “Italy has a very strong economy. National debt is absolutely stable and is guaranteed by the state.”
Tremonti also sent out a message of encouragement to the nation saying that "Italy is in much better shape that we believe it is," despite the fact that the country currently operates on the third-biggest public debt in the world.
A report of Italian labor unions issued last week revealed a constant decrease in employment rates, with 900,000 more employees to be laid off by the end of 2009.
Last month, the Italian government announced that it was crafting a plan to cut the number of illegal workers and immigrants within its borders, especially those without special skills. Currently, more than 3.4 million foreigners live and work in Italy. Italy has struggled with illegal immigration, a touchy subject in Italian politics. The number of illegal immigrants to Italy has soared this year: 24,000 illegal immigrants have entered Italy from January to September, most of whom come from Africa.