Is Italy's huge reform package a convincing plan?
Italy's government has launched a package of 130 measures with which it hopes to convince even the most sceptical EU member states of its will to reform. The country's ailing economy is to be stimulated through the reduction of bureaucracy, digitalisation and investments in infrastructure. Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte presented the package as the "mother of all reforms", but the press clearly has its doubts about the plan.
Nothing decided yet
Whether Conte, who proved his worth in the crisis, will also be able to manage the recovery effort effectively remains to be seen, says Oliver Meiler, Italy correspondent for the Süddeutsche Zeitung:
“Conte's power base is thin, precarious. In the Senate the heterogeneous majority of the Cinque Stelle, the social democratic Partito Democratico and Matteo Renzi's Italia Viva is hanging by a thread. ... The recent ministerial meeting went on for six hours, late into the night. In the end the words 'subject to agreement' were added to the package because there were those who wanted to renegotiate certain points, probably into the autumn, when regional elections take place. It is, of course, grotesque to link regional elections to the major effort to revitalise the country's economy and society. But Italian politics occasionally tends towards the grotesque. So it's not out of the question that Italy could jeopardise this unique opportunity.”
Big announcements, unclear priorities
Columnist Massimo Franco is less than enthusiastic about the package of measures in Corriere della Sera:
“The mass of projects is overwhelming. It reflects a logic of quantity that serves to convey the feeling that this is a beneficial revolution that is set to transform Italy. The real objective being to give Prime Minister Conte the opportunity to start his European pilgrimage with ideas that are clear - on paper. ... But the very mention of '130 strategic projects' is confusing: it's too much. Instead of setting priorities, we end up with an endless list of goals without clarification of which are the most important. ... The desire to surprise the people with something spectacular seems unpleasantly obvious. As if even Conte couldn't resist making the kind of big announcement that is typical of Cinque Stelle.”