Tuesday (January 26th): Italian Politics influence the EU

Name? Giuseppe Conte

Westphalian identity? Italian

Age? 56

Why is he in the news? One week after winning a vote of confidence in the Italian House and Senate, Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte resigns as he is unable to continue his current coalition. President Mattarella now has to decide whether he will give Conte another mandate to form a new government. Otherwise, Matarella could instate a technocratic government or we could see new elections. 

Why do we care? EU member states only have until April to apply for much-needed Corona-money to rebuild their economies. If Conte or a potential successor spends too much time building coalitions, they might run out of time to apply for the money. 

Why should you care? Italy has the third biggest economy in the EU so if it defaults, it would lead the EU into turmoil as it is ‘too big to fail.’ We are already in the second economic crisis of our lifetime and do not need a third one any time soon. So on our How much should you care scale, this only gets a 1/10, not because you should not care, but because we do not like economic crises. Take that Italy and please get it together. 

Who else cares? Angela Merkel. First, she spent weeks during her presidency of the European Council to convince the “Frugal Four” to create the biggest aid package Europe has ever seen. But now internal disagreements in Italy could lead to a scenario in which Conte cannot even request money. We are sure some developing countries would love to receive some corona-money and wouldn’t have any problems meeting the deadline … Any further comments? Usually, a situation like this would lead to new elections. However, Italy’s parliament is shrinking after this legislature and new elections would mean many delegates could lose out on up to 15 000 Euros per month … What better motivation to support Conte whom they do not support…

Joshua Dario Hasenstab

General Coordinator