The Italians learn Chinese: should others in the EU follow their lead?
During Chinese President Xi Jinping’s March visit to Rome, Italy and China signed a set of agreements that brings the former very close to Beijing’s Belt and Road Initiative community. France, Germany and the United States expressed dismay, and their reaction will probably further marginalize Italy’s role within the Western alliance. Realistically, however, such a deal may be in Italy’s vital interest, given its deteriorating economy and financial conditions. Before long, Europe, too, may find itself groping for new powerful partners.
The Italian challenge
Italy’s public finance troubles are making waves again, but the new government’s budget proposal does not spell disaster, nor should debt servicing create a big problem, considering today’s low interest rates. But Italy’s leaders have decided to transform their conflict with the European Union into a casus belli. Will the conflict end in an Italian crisis or a new EU architecture?
Italy’s new coalition – a necessary disruption?
The coalition government finally announced by Italy’s two euroskeptic parties is being bemoaned in Europe as right-wing and populist, turning Italy into a threat to the entire eurozone. But its predecessors in Rome were the ones who put the country in its current financial quandary.
Italy’s 2018 elections will hinge on immigration
Demographic data show that Italy’s population is shrinking at a fast clip, economists are ringing alarm that the country faces a shortage of labor and its social security system is at risk, but voters perceive immigrants from the Middle East and Africa as a major problem that requires radical steps by the government. Most Italian politicians are willing to oblige.
Italy pushes for early elections that would make matters worse
Matteo Renzi, Silvio Berlusconi and Beppe Grillo may be poles apart politically, but the leaders of Italy’s center, right and left parties are jointly toying with a plan to offer disgruntled voters another make-believe reform scheme.
Italy drifts toward paralysis
Italy is facing the prospect of major political fragmentation and government inertia. Its political players are already bracing for the double whammy of changed electoral rules, which will radically alter the composition of the next parliament, and the steady rise of populist sentiment in the country.
Eurozone bailout economies vulnerable to interest rates rise
Any rise in interest rates could tip a number of eurozone countries deeper into trouble. European Union countries involved in bailout programmes are still very vulnerable - with the exceptions of Ireland which is safe and Greece which is hopeless. The key is the cost of debt-servicing. Bailouts will not be enough to ease the cost of debt-servicing, and debt-restruc...
Independence movements spreading across Europe
The climate for greater independence and self-control by regions is increasing across Europe. Local politicians are using the background of economic crisis to develop their rhetoric for better times by breaking away from central government and bigger tax bills. But secession is a populist political project rather than an economic one. ...
European elections: Eurosceptic success could impact national policies
The European Parliamentary elections in May are likely to see a record number of eurosceptic or populist parties elected from both the political right and left. This could force a grand coalition of the major centre-right and centre-left groups in the parliament. But what impact will this have on national policies and the EU Council? ...