Opinion: Regional disparities strike back in northern Italy
Two northern Italian regions have voted overwhelmingly in support of more autonomy from Rome. They are two of the country’s richest areas, frequently paying more in taxes than they receive in public spending, and the vote laid bare the dissatisfaction over this disparity. Worse, the money being transferred to poorer parts of Italy has not lifted them out of poverty. Italy can no longer sweep these issues under the rug. Federalism is now back on the table.
Could the right make a comeback in Italy?
Local elections in Italy had a surprise result – a surge from the center right. Both former Prime Minister Matteo Renzi’s allies on the left and the upstart Five Star Movement led by Beppe Grillo seem to be losing traction. Is this part of a larger European trend away from populists and back toward known political quantities? And could this mean a return of Silvio Berlusconi?
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.
Italy after the referendum
Italy's political establishment is hanging tough after the failed constitutional referendum. But buying time and tinkering with the election law will be of no avail unless the economy improves. Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni’s caretaker government appears to lack the political clout to cut spending and fix the banks. That will only strengthen the appeal of Beppe Grillo’s Five Star Movement.
Global Outlook 2017: Merkel and the myth of German hegemony
Among the leaders of the world’s biggest liberal democracies, it seems Angela Merkel is the last woman standing. Some have claimed that will make her the leader of the free world and Germany Europe’s hegemon. Such claims are greatly exaggerated. There will be significant limitations to both Germany and Ms. Merkel’s room for maneuver in Europe and globally in the coming year.
Italy: populist Five Star Movement lurks in the wings
By calling a risky referendum on his constitutional reform, Italy’s Prime Minister Matteo Renzi has put in jeopardy not only his government and the Democratic Party’s political future. Should the prime minister’s gamble backfire, Italy’s populists of the anti-capitalist Five Star Movement may be the ones forming the next cabinet.
Italy’s 50-year bond: an ill omen?
What’s not to like about Italy’s first-ever 50-year bond? October’s brilliantly successful sale may set the template for other eurozone governments. But investors should take note that it was far from a vote of confidence in Europe’s financial and economic prospects.
Italy’s referendum and the specter of instability
On December 4, Italians will go to the polls in a referendum on amending their constitution. Prime Minister Matteo Renzi has said he will resign if the changes are rejected. A win for the opposition could be seen as a populist turn for this highly indebted country, bringing instability domestically and uncertainty about the fate of the eurozone.
Euro crisis: time for a rerun?
After Greece obtained its third bailout last summer, Europe turned its attention to other crises. But it would be naive to conclude that the sovereign debt crisis is over. The Greek drama is still far from a happy ending; in Portugal and Spain, fragile left-wing governments may want to abandon austerity and roll back reforms; France has declared a state of economic...