The headlines make hard reading in Italy.
Its credit rating has been cut to A+, the same level as that of Malta and Slovakia, by one of the big international agencies. Fitch’s one notch downgrade follows similar moves by Standard and Poor’s and Moody’s in recent weeks.
Taking in the news, Rome resident Luisa Focacci said she wanted to know who is behind the agencies and what their criteria is when it comes to giving out ratings.
Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi and his government must resign, believes fellow Rome dweller Gonsalvo D’Antonio. “They have got us into a miserable situation,” he said.
“Clearly there is some truth in it,” added Armando Ogliarolo, also in Rome. “They don’t make these evaluations randomly and our prime minister downplays anything happening around him,” he said, lamenting the flamboyant leader’s latest verbal gaffe.
Berlusconi, whose austerity package to help balance the budget was passed by parliament last month, has yet again stirred outrage and exasperation. This time, he suggested his ruling party should rename itself with a vulgar slang word for female genitalia. The term is also used to describe an attractive woman.