What will the populists make of Italy?

After proposing a new candidate for the post of economy and finance minister, the protest Five Star Movement and the right-wing Lega Nord have paved the way for a joint government under law professor Giuseppe Conte. Europe's commentators continue to discuss whether the experiment in Rome can work.

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Zeit Online (DE) /

Europe means intervention

Zeit Online criticises the view that the rest of Europe should not get involved in Italy's affairs:

“Because in that case we'd have to stop talking about a European public sphere. Every nation would then be solely preoccupied with its own affairs: arguing, tearing itself apart and reconciling, depending on the situation. Discussion between nations would be unwanted, impossible even. ... The EU is built upon nation states. Every nation has its own sensitivities, which can be explained for a good part by its history. That can lamentable, but it can't simply be eliminated. While everyone should take this into consideration, it doesn't mean they should be condemned to silence. When you see a danger that poses a threat for everyone you should warn people about it loudly and clearly.”

Večernji list (HR) /

Now for something completely different

Criticism of the new alliance in Italy is premature, Večernji list believes:

“The new Five Star-Lega government must first of all show whether it can honour its numerous campaign pledges. Some call it populist, others anti-establishent, still others right-wing, but in fact it's unique in Italy and all of Europe. Five Star has left-wing ideas about social policy, but also right-wing ideas when it comes to protecting the borders from migrants. ... The important thing is not to peg this government according to old categories because it's something new. There'll be time later to discuss its success or failure.”

De Volkskrant (NL) /

Italy's big experiment

De Volkskrant takes a similar view of the situation:

“In any case, the Italians all agree that Prime Giuseppe Conte will now have to lead a troupe of ministers even though he lacks any experience in such matters. On the one had are the right-wing Lega politicians, who are focussed on defending the interests of the rich north. And on the other you have the Five Star politicians who want to help voters in the poorer south with a series of traditionally left-wing promises. What's more, taken together all the promises will cost more than 100 billion euros - money that Italy simply doesn't have. ... While some are fastening their safety belts in anticipation of an emergency landing, others - the majority - are curious and hopeful. After all, they say, experiments can also end well.”

Avvenire (IT) /

There simply is no alternative

The relief over the agreement between Lega Nord and the Five Star Movement is due to a complete lack of alternatives, Avvenire observes:

“It's paradoxical; within the space of a few days we are eagerly welcoming the birth of a government that had already been declared dead by its own initiators and which we should in fact be very worried about. ... The team consisting of Prime Minister Conte and the two deputy prime ministers Luigi Di Maio und Matteo Salvini is effectively a 'political' government in the hands of a 'technocrat'. It is based on a deal that will be difficult to implement and which was brokered by political forces that were proud opponents in the election campaign and regard each other with suspicion. But there are no alternatives and international issues cannot be postponed any longer.”

Corriere del Ticino (CH) /

The ruling parties don't like each other

The new government rests on shaky foundations, Corriere del Ticino concurs:

“The chaotic climate of the last few days has taken its toll on the relationship between Di Maio and Salvini. The leader of the M5S realised today that he has been outmanoeuvred by the League head and is complaining about having to submit to a party that won only half the votes his party obtained. One gets the impression that the M5S has been clumsy in its dealings with the League, and that an attempt has been made to reconcile the political programmes of two right-wing parties that only have their anti-system and anti-institutional stance in common. The differences, however, persist, and it can't be ruled out that this will hinder cooperation within the government.”