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LA STAMPA

Indebted - And Now Humiliated - Italy And Berlusconi Can Delay Reforms No Longer

Op-Ed: Literally laughed (or at least chuckled) at by Angela Merkel and Nicolas Sarkozy, Italy is at a new low point. Embattled Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi may have to choose between saving his political future, or risking the economic collapse not o

(EPP)
(EPP)

A weekend summit of European leaders in Brussels focused attention on Italy, where the inability of Silvio Berlusconi's hobbled government coalition to impose necessary reforms is now seen as potentially as dangerous to the future of the single currency as Greece's massive sovereign debt. When French President Nicolas Sarkozy and German Chancellor Angela Merkel were asked at Sunday's press conference about Italy's commitments, they chuckled, and then insisted again that the government must radically change its policies or risk dragging down the whole continent's economy. La Stampa's editor-in-chief weighs in.

It is detestable to be put under outside supervision, to be citizens of a state of limited sovereignty, where foreign leaders set the agenda of reforms and impose a three-day deadline to respond.

It is irritating to watch the chuckles and winks of Merkel and Sarkozy when Italy and Berlusconi are mentioned: this is disrespectful and unacceptable.

It is humiliating to hear that Europe considers us in the same category as Greece—or even worse, since at Sunday's summit, some were reportedly saying that "in this moment, not only is Italy in danger, but it is the danger."

But respect must be earned with credibility and by abiding by one's commitments – and we have been missing both for far too long in Italy. We are the ‘sick man of Europe" because the government is paralyzed and is unable to lead us toward a path of growth and reform. Across the entire contient, notwithstanding all the divisions, there is agreement on one point: the Italian prime minister must quickly and radically shift gears, or step aside following the example of his Spanish counterpart, Prime Minister José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero.

Read the original article in Italian

Photo - EPP

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Society

Holy Mess! Spain's Disfigured Christ Mural Remains A Hit With Tourists

The clumsy restoration of a mural of Christ in a Spanish chapel 10 years ago shocked, then amused Spaniards and millions more abroad, and gave the local town a level of publicity, and tourist revenues, it never had nor could have hoped for. Here's how it looks 10 years later.

Man in front of the notorious disfigured Christ mural inside a Borja chapel

Marina Artusa

BORJA — Among the countless pictures and images of Christ around the world, it might not be outlandish to imagine that one of them might seek revenge — using humidity as the instrument of its vengeance.

One might say this of a by-now notorious mural of Christ inside a chapel in Borja in the province of Aragón, northern Spain.

Painted in 1930 by a painter and academic, the image was smothered in 2012 by Cecilia Giménez Zueca, a local resident and amateur painter. She wanted to help no doubt, but her "unfinished" restoration turned a venerable image of the suffering Christ — an Ecce Homo — into a bloated, indefinable cartoon.

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