Europe: The Day of Reckoning

Budget crises sweeping the Continent cause the fall of Italy's government

In what has become almost a tradition in Western Europe, the bad news was presented to the public at the height of the summer vacation season in order to lessen the immediate outcry of national pain. With millions of his countrymen at the beaches and in the mountains, Italian Prime Minister Giovanni Spadolini proclaimed a stringent austerity package, describing the proposals as being of "historic proportions." They were indeed, but they also contained political dynamite with an unexpectedly short fuse. Only five days after the big economic squeeze was announced,...

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