Far-Right League Gains Most from Governing in Italy
Italy’s far-right League is benefiting the most from the government deal it struck with the populist Five Star Movement earlier this month.
In municipal elections on Sunday, the League captured the former left-wing strongholds of Massa, Pisa and Siena in the region of Tuscany.
Nationally, the League is tied with the Five Star Movement in the polls. Both get 27-29 percent support. In the last election, the Five Stars got 33 percent support against 17 percent for the League. Read more
Italy has learned from Donald Trump that Canada is now the enemy of the West.
In an interview with the newspaper La Stampa, the country’s new agriculture minister, Gian Marco Centinaio of the far-right League, said he would ask parliament not to ratify the trade agreement the EU negotiated with Canada in 2016.
Without ratification by all 28 member states, the treaty cannot go into effect for the entire European Union. Read more
In my latest story for the Diplomatic Courier, I argue that Italy’s economic north-south divide has become political.
The far-right League, which Matteo Salvini has transformed into Italy’s version of the National Front, is the biggest party in the north, where incomes are 10-14 percent above the European average. The anti-establishment Five Star Movement is the biggest party in the south, including on the islands of Sardinia and Sicily, where incomes are barely above the level in Greece.
These two parties now rule Italy in a coalition government. Read more
Technology Could Help Mend Italy’s North-South Divide
The results of the 2018 election in Italy reflected two main economic realities: the economic struggles in Italy relative to northern Europe and the economic struggles in southern Italy relative to northern Italy. The former helped anti-establishment parties to gain a large share of the country’s vote. The latter resulted in Lega Nord and center-right parties performing well throughout much of the north of Italy and the Five Star Movement performing well in the south of Italy.
In geopolitics — the school of thought that argues that geography is the most significant or fundamental element in politics — these two economic realities have the same obvious source: mountains. Italy and southern Europe are much more mountainous than northern Europe and southern Italy is much more mountainous than northern Italy.
Mountainous regions tend to be much poorer than non-mountainous regions. Italy is no exception. Read more
Given the timing over the political turmoil in Italy and Spain, it’s tempting to lump the two together and see one big threat to Europe’s political stability emanating from the south. (One example here.)
That’s not the wrong interpretation for Italy. The new government, of the populist Five Star Movement and far-right League, really is opposed to EU principles of liberal democracy and shared sovereignty.
In Spain, though, the change in government could work out in Europe’s favor, as I explain in my latest contribution to the Atlantic Council’s New Atlanticist blog. Read more
Five Star, League Reach Deal to Form Government in Italy After All
The leaders of Italy’s Five Star Movement and League have reached a deal to stave off early elections.
Luigi Di Maio and Matteo Salvini still want Giuseppe Conte, an academic, as prime minister. But they are willing to relent on the selection of finance minister.
Paolo Savona, whose nomination sparked a constitutional crisis, would still join the cabinet, but as European affairs — not finance — minister. That post would go to Giovanni Tria, an economics lecturer. Read more