Dispute over corona billions – Mini-Matteo lets Italy’s government burst – politics abroad


Europe looks at Italy in disbelief: of all things, the dispute over the EU’s generous aid billions in the corona pandemic broke Italy’s center-left government.

 The  key figure is ex-Prime Minister Matteo Renzi (in office 2014-2016), who was once ridiculed for his vanity but was once appreciated on the international stage.

He once stood as a major modernizer of the Social Democratic Party (PD), but split it – and did not resign entirely voluntarily in autumn 2019. His small party “Italia Viva” is only three percent in voter polls, and the trend is falling.

But after Matteo Salvini from the right-wing extremist “Lega” broke the coalition, she needed the non-party head of government Giuseppe Conte (56) as a majority funder.
However, Conte originally owes his office to the anti-establishment party “5 Stars” – and Renzi has been violently at odds with them in recent weeks.

Hardly anyone outside Italy understands the core of the dispute: It’s about the offer from Brussels to renovate the ailing health system with a cheap loan of 36 billion euros. But because the funds are supposed to flow through the European ESM bailout fund, populists from left and right persuade the Italians that the whole thing is a kind of trick to force a tough reform program on them, like the Greeks once did, a savings dictation based on Germany’s signature.

Renzi, who had started his political career as mayor of Florence, demanded that Rome should still access the money. © www.de24.news The  “five star” movement rejects this.

Critics accuse Renzi that it’s not about the matter, but once again about his personal ego. Renzi made it clear on several occasions that his successor in office is incapable.

Corona aid from the EU in comparison - infographic

Result of the dispute after long threats: On Wednesday, Renzi withdrew the two ministers from his splinter party. This means that the coalition no longer has a majority. However, it is also not yet clear whether and when there will be new elections. Negotiations are still ongoing at various levels to form a new government that will restore Italy’s ability to act in the midst of the pandemic.

All eyes on the President

Now the country is looking primarily at President Sergio Mattarella (79). In Italy, the president traditionally plays the leading role in government crises. He explores the possibilities of forming a new government. A government of national unity is under discussion, either for a few months or even until the end of the legislative period in two years.

Is he taking on government responsibility in Rome?  Ex-ECB President Mario Draghi

Is he taking on government responsibility in Rome? Ex-ECB President Mario DraghiFoto: picture alliance/AP Photo

Among the names that are traded in the Italian media for political leaders are the former ECB president and “Mr. Zero Interest “Mario Draghi. But also the star lawyer Marta Cartabia, ex-President of the Italian Constitutional Court, chances are given again. Former head of government Silvio Berlusconi (84, “Forza Italia”), currently a member of the European Union, is likely to run again in new elections. He was barred from running for several years because of his tax evasion conviction.

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Dispute corona billions MiniMatteo lets Italys government burst politics


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