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New Italian government a 'right-wing and anti-liberal shift' from predecessor

Lorenzo Genito, an Associate Tutor, in the University of Warwick's Department of Politics and International studies provides his expert analysis on Italy's new coalition government.

Writing that "On the one hand, the new coalition government represents a markedly Eurosceptic, right-wing and anti-liberal shift from its pro-European, centrist and liberal predecessor", Mr Genito also notes that the "'technocratic' component of the new government is a clear strategic choice to employ insiders and experts to better negotiate Italy’s reform demands with the EU".

Lorenzo Genito's full analysis:

"After months of negotiations, an agreement has finally been reached between the right-wing League, the anti-establishment 5 Star Movement and the President of the Republic, paving the way for Italy’s new coalition government. During the last week, a contention arose about the proposed appointment of economist Paolo Savona to lead the Ministry of Economy of Finance. President of the Republic Sergio Mattarella (who is constitutionally required to nominate the government) had vetoed the appointment of Savona on the basis of his known criticism of the euro, as well as for his proposal on how Italy could leave the single currency, issues that were not discussed during the last electoral campaign. To rescue the coalition pact between the League and the 5 Star Movement, the two parties agreed to propose someone else to the Ministry of Economy and Finance, while however maintaining Savona in the executive as the Minister of European Affairs. So, how does the new government stand ideologically? And does it represent a true, anti-establishment shift?


"On the one hand, the new coalition government represents a markedly Eurosceptic, right-wing and anti-liberal shift from its pro-European, centrist and liberal predecessor. For instance, the League’s and new Ministry for Family and Disabled Policies Lorenzo Fontana has previously held homophobic, anti-abortion and pro-life positions. League’s leader and Ministry of Interior Matteo Salvini has already called to cut significant amount of financial resources allocated for migrants and refugees. 5 Star appointment Giulia Grillo has proposed to abolish mandatory vaccinations for children. On the other hand, the government has also retained a distinctive “technocratic” flavour to it, with a number of non-elected appointments and establishment figures to hold key positions. Law professor Giuseppe Conte will lead the executive as Prime Minister, economics professor Giovanni Tria to the Ministry of Economy Finance, economics professor and former Minister Paolo Savona to the Ministry of European Affairs, law professor, former Minister and high-level EU official Enzo Moavero will be Italy’s Foreign Affairs Minister.


"The “technocratic” component of the new government is a clear strategic choice to employ insiders and experts to better negotiate Italy’s reform demands with the EU. Indeed, both the League and the 5 Star Movement want to renegotiate the EU’s fiscal rules, deemed too tight and that impaired Italy’s economic recovery from the financial crisis. As it doesn’t look like neither Brussels, nor Berlin or Paris, are keen to renegotiate the EU’s rules on budget spending, the League/5 Star coalition is bidding on the use of experts as leverage, thanks to their knowledge of the EU’s mechanisms and their established relationships with the European counterparts. Whether this will lead to an irreparable clash with the EU remains to be seen, particularly due to the very likely disagreements that will sooner or later emerge between the more moderate and radical wings of the 5 Star Movement itself."

1 June 2018

Contacts:

Tom Frew, Senior Press and Media Relations Manager – University of Warwick:

E: a dot t dot frew at warwick dot ac dot uk
M: +44(0)7785433155

Maki Nakamatsu

E: M dot Nakamatsu at warwick dot ac dot uk