Italy: is there a way out of the government crisis?

On Wednesday and Thursday, Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi will appear before the two chambers of parliament. After that, he will probably decide whether to go through with the resignation he announced last week. Draghi had interpreted a Senate vote in which the Cinque Stelle deputies had left the chamber in unison as a breach of coalition. Commentators shed light on the prospects for Italy and Europe.

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La Repubblica (IT) /

Everyone wants Draghi to stay

The prime minister will not abandon the country, La Repubblica predicts:

“Everyone is calling for him to steer the government through the last stretch of a difficult legislative period. Italy's partners in Europe and the United States, the major Western newspapers, the economic and financial centres. ... The list is long, and everyone knows it. He has never lost his parliamentary majority. Only the Cinque Stelle parliamentary group has disintegrated. So what needs to happen to get closure on this summer crisis? A solution must be found to overcome the rift between the 'technocratic' prime minister and a fragmented coalition.”

Der Standard (AT) /

Resignation would be bad news

Columnist Paul Lendvai hopes in Der Standard that the resignation can be averted:

“Draghi, at the head of a shaky government of national unity, succeeded in winning back the confidence of the financial markets for the country, which is heavily indebted at 151 percent of economic output, and also in convincing the EU Commission that the promised grants and loans would be put to good use. Draghi has been a godsend so far - and not just for Italy. His irrevocable resignation on Wednesday would be a catastrophe for Italy and bad news for the European Union, which is struggling with a weakening euro and inflation.”

Financial Times (GB) /

Every Draghi-led day counts

The Financial Times rejects the idea of holding a snap election:

“While there is a risk to delaying elections - a Draghi-led coalition could be seen to limp on without a mandate - it would be far better to allow him time to advance essential policies over the next few months. The priority is to approve the next budget, and push through reforms required to unlock the next tranche of the EU's €750bn Covid-19 recovery fund, €200bn of which is earmarked for Italy.”

De Standaard (BE) /

Achilles' heel of the ECB

Italy's instability is a major risk for inflation control in the Eurozone, warns De Standaard:

“Draghi is the guarantor that Italy will be run with a firm hand and stick to its agreements. The man who saved the euro even as a central banker enjoys the trust of the financial markets. If he was to disappear from the political stage, the ECB would lose an ally in one of the key Eurozone countries. ... Italy is the Achilles' heel of the ECB strategy. Without a stable governing team in Rome, it will be difficult for Frankfurt to give its all in the fight against inflation. The EU faces major challenges and needs leaders who radiate confidence.”

Ta Nea (GR) /

Putin fuelling divisions

Ta Nea comments:

“In fact, the crisis is yet another repercussion of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, as the basic difference between [ex-prime minister and Five Star leader] Conte and Draghi ... involves the provision of military aid to Kyiv [opposed by Conte]. After all, one of the basic objectives of Russian President Vladimir Putin has always been to undermine, by any means possible, the European construct by fueling insecurity and tensions.”

The Economist (GB) /

No easy path for Super Mario

There is no really good way out of this situation, The Economist observes:

“A new or reset cabinet is an unattractive prospect for Mr Draghi; neither of the alternatives looks particularly promising for Italy or Europe. One is an early election that could not be held before the end of September. The other is a stop-gap government under a less authoritative figure than the man whose defence of the single currency in 2012 led to him being dubbed 'Super Mario'. As this latest, more-than-usually baffling Italian crisis unfolded, one of Mr Draghi's predecessors, the European Commissioner Paolo Gentiloni, said that he and his colleagues were viewing events from Brussels with 'concerned amazement'. They will not be alone.”

La Stampa (IT) /

Snap election the only way out

Draghi should resist all demands to try it again with a new government, columnist Lucia Annunziata advises in La Stampa:

“The coming days will be marked by the usual national and international appeals, promises and calls for the prime minister to make himself available again. On behalf of the country, as always. Instead, I hope for all our sakes that Draghi retires to his house in the country. ... The only way to help the country wake up from its torpor is to keep the sick king - the party system - naked. Only one thing will help. Go vote, and vote now, and stop pretending that stable majorities are possible.”

Die Presse (AT) /

No security without the über-father

The press fears consequences for Europe:

“This crisis is different. It threatens to be painful - and not only for Italy. ... Thanks to Draghi, Rome had recently been playing in Europe's A-league again, holding the fragile EU structure together along with Paris and Berlin. ... What was impressive was how well Draghi kept his ministers in the quasi all-party coalition under control until the end. They were loyal, openly defied their party leaders or even turned their backs on them ... This form of government with Draghi as über-father ensured relative stability and efficiency in Italy - which also reassured its partners. This security has been in danger since yesterday.”

Avvenire (IT) /

Terrible timing

This is the worst possible moment for this to happen, Avvenire complains:

“A political crisis in the midst of a recession, with a general impoverishment of citizens, during a pandemic, with an open war raging in the heart of Europe, a severe energy crisis, global food shortages and climate change that is triggering a dramatic drought. Can we imagine a worse time and context for a government crisis? ... Exacerbating the insecurity of Italians who are already having great difficulty finding or keeping a job and coping with soaring prices is as senseless and masochistic as the political forces could devise for our country. ”