Good afternoon ladies and gentlemen. This is a slightly different listening exercise from usual. It may be more difficult. It is certainly more specialised: it is about economics and turns on the question: could Italy suffer a debt crisis like that of Greece or Portugal?
To find out more, listen to the BBC's "Today" programme .This is a programme that goes out every morning on the BBC's domestic Radio 4. First, however, look at the exercise. You should try to complete each sentence with the missing words. There is one word for each space, indicated by a short line:
1. Politicians are saying that the markets are ________ ________ .
2. Part of the problem is that there is no agreement on the mechanics of a ________ ________ bailout for Greece.
3. The Dutch Finance Minister says that a precondition has to be substantial ________ ________ involvement.
4. Italy is involved because its Prime Minister has ____ ____ with his Economy Minister.
5. Mr Berlusconi has accused the Economy Minister of being a “________ ________” who “thinks everyone else is a ____ .”
6. This is not what the rest of Europe wants to hear from the Eurozone’s ________-largest but determinedly ________ economy.
7. Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel says she is trying to persuade Mr Berlusconi to pass a new ____ ____ as soon as possible.
8. She says Italy needs to show that it is ________ and ________ debt.
9. Politicians who have to answer to electorates always seem to be ________ step ________ the markets.
10. Peter Spiegel, the Brussels bureau chief of the Financial Times, says that “if Italy goes down, then it will be Lehman Brothers …. ____ ____ as bad.”
11. The results could be “________”.
12. Why have the markets taken so long to react to Italy? Because the markets only focus on ____ ____ at a time.
13. The only way to solve the problem is by issuing ________ bonds.
Now, listen to the programme. It will open in a new window of your browser. Click on the audio play button if the audio does not start automatically. The programme lasts five and a half minutes.
Write your answers on the Tag Board or in a comment. You can also use the Tag Board or comments to add your own views on Italy's financial situation. I look forward to reading your suggestions and solutions.