Despite warnings from Brussels, the ruling Italian coalition of La Lega and the 5 Star Movement submitted its 2019 budget proposal to the European Union (EU) on October 15. A combination of tax cuts, increased social spending, and a roll back of pension reforms will cause the deficit to jump from 0.8 percent to 2.4 percent of the gross domestic product (GDP), according to the government’s calculations. The proposal, which creates a deficit that is more than triple the level desired by the EU, has left investors jittery about the trajectory of the Italian economy.
The path has been more difficult for Europe’s east.
When the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) released its cybersecurity strategy in May, it laid out seven goals to help the government better defend the United States and its infrastructure against the constant onslaught of sophisticated cyber threats.
Argentine headlines in August were dominated by revelations from the “notebook” scandal, which revealed years of bribes hand-delivered from private corporations to the residences of former-presidents Néstor and Cristina Fernéndez de Kirchner. Meanwhile in Brazil, the drama of the judiciary’s years-long corruption investigations continued to play out, as former president and then-presidential front-runner Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva spent the summer contesting his conviction on corruption and money-laundering charges. Most recently, Guatemalan President Jimmy Morales raised international alarms when he sent army tanks to the headquarters of the United Nations-backed Commission Against Impunity in Guatemala (CICIG), ending the anti-graft body’s mandate in dramatic fashion.
The Christian Social Union (CSU), which along with Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union (CDU) and the Social Democratic Party (SPD) is part of the governing coalition in Berlin, suffered heavy losses. It lost its absolute majority in the Bavarian parliament and 10.5 percent of votes compared to 2013. This was its worst showing since 1954.