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Live from Abu Dhabi Connect the World takes you on a journey across continents, investigating the stories that are changing our world.

Live from Abu Dhabi Connect the World takes you on a journey across continents, investigating the stories that are changing our world.

Italy's first hung parliament?

February 26th, 2013
07:24 PM ET

There is a reason why Italy has had more than 60 governments since WW2: the Italian political system is complicated at best – and, dare I say it, dysfunctional at worst.

The country's electoral laws dictate that a party – or coalition – needs a majority in both the Lower Chamber AND the Senate to govern. And the likelihood is that this time around, there is little chance of a stable government.

And THAT means Italians may need to return to the polls. Even a member of Bersani's center-left Democratic Party is predicting ANOTHER election.

Why? Well, it's completely unrealistic to imagine a broad coalition between the center-left and the center-right led by three-time PM Silvio Berlusconi. Some would say, quite frankly, that's a relief!

So, what of Mario Monti? He's the "White Knight" technocrat brought in 14 months ago to steady a ship sinking under the weight of Berlusconi's inept domestic economic policies, not to mention personal problems. Monti's reform and austerity measures have been hugely unpopular with many voters – hence his meltdown in the polls.

And the Clown Prince of Italian politics – 5-Star's Beppe Grillo? When once he just made the electorate laugh, his success in winning 20 percent of the vote simply points to an Italian public absolutely fed up with the status quo.

So where does this all leave the Eurozone's third-biggest economy and the world's eighth largest? Full of uncertainty – and, sadly, looking decidedly shaky.

Deja vu? I'd say so.


Filed under:  Analysis • Becky's Interviews • Euro crisis • Video

Finance Minister: Hope for struggling Greeks

January 18th, 2013
10:47 AM ET

Greece's Finance Minister Yannis Stournaras tells Becky that the days of harsh austerity measures could soon be over. In an interview in the capital Athens, Stournaras says the country's coalition government is strong – and while 2013 will be tough – there is light at the end of the tunnel. The Finance Minister told Becky that he believes the opposition is obsessed with the so-called "Lagarde List" because they lack credible arguments.

Greeks have lost trust in their politicians


Filed under:  Becky's Interviews • Euro crisis • Video

Former Greek airline worker's pension cut by 70%

January 18th, 2013
12:52 AM ET

Becky talks to a former chief cabin crew member in Greece who is dealing day to day with Greek austerity cuts.


Filed under:  Becky's Interviews • Euro crisis • Video

Becky: Greeks have lost trust in their politicians

Becky: Greeks have lost trust in their politicians
Greenpeace activist poses as George Papaconstantinou. Source: AFP/Getty Images
January 17th, 2013
04:02 PM ET

Who knew what, when and how? Three questions Greeks want answered about the now infamous "Lagarde List." Lest we need reminding, this is a list – passed to the authorities in Athens in 2010 – of more than 2,000 Greeks who were allegedly avoiding tax by using Swiss bank accounts. Lest we also forget, that list of names mysteriously disappeared until September 2012 when, we are told, the current Finance Minister Yannis Stournaras learned about it through the press. The plot then thickened last month, when former Finance Minister George Papaconstantinou was accused of removing names from that list – an allegation he denies – and was expelled from his socialist PASOK party. Fast forward to tonight – when legislators will debate whether to start a parliamentary investigation against him.

Inside the seemingly dysfunctional Greek Parliament, parties from all sides are lining up to make political capital out of this mess. Outside, on the streets of Athens, almost everyone I've spoken to complains of a massive trust deficit in their elected officials – particularly at a time when further swinging austerity cuts are decimating their livelihoods – and the lives of generations. They just want to see some accountability. And no doubt in Brussels, there is that sinking feeling that Greek politics could be about to take a nasty turn AGAIN, possibly destabilizing what is a very fragile fix – albeit temporarily – to the crisis in the Eurozone.

Who knew what, when and how? In pursuit of some answers I'll be speaking with Finance Minister Stournaras just hours before that vote – join me for that and more in Athens, tonight at 9 PM GMT.


Filed under:  Euro crisis

Becky: Greek entrepreneurs "inspiring"

January 16th, 2013
06:55 PM ET

In 2007, as Greece was staring down the barrel of a severe recession, you'd have been hard pressed to find many young people willing to invest any time or energy in building a future in the country. So the idea of kick starting a new export-led business in Greece from scratch – catering to the global demand from restaurants and grocery stores for ready-to-eat organic snails – seems inconceivable, doesn't it? But that is exactly what Penny Vlachou (31) and her sister Maria (32) – who was studying abroad at the time – decided to do.

The story of Fereikos-Helix's success – creating jobs in organic snail farming for more than 168 young families across Greece in a country with the highest youth unemployment rate in Europe – is massively inspiring and should serve as a reminder to us all that there is light in all this continent-wide doom.


Filed under:  Euro crisis
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