Alberto Mingardi of the libertarian Bruno Leoni Institute in Milan argues in Politico that the “deep roots” of Italy’s coalition chaos lie in an electoral system that makes it hard for any one party to govern.
I think the roots actually go deeper than that. Read more
Matteo Salvini Appears to Have Made a Huge Mistake
Italy’s most popular politician appears to have made a huge mistake.
Matteo Salvini, the country’s hardline interior minister, brought down his far-right League’s government with the anti-establishment Five Star Movement on Tuesday, hoping to trigger early elections that polls suggest his party would win.
But none of the other parties are willing to play ball. Read more
30 percent of Italians between the ages of 15 and 24 are out of work, more or less the same rate as in Spain but almost double the eurozone average.
Of those in work, the majority are on temporary contracts.
Nearly eight out of ten young Italians are in part-time work and unable to find full-time employment, the highest rate by far among large European economies. In France and Spain, it’s about 50 percent.
Italy spends far less on tertiary education that its neighbors. The result: only 27 percent of Italians in their thirties have a university degree, the second-lowest rate in the EU, where the average is 40 percent. Italy does especially poorly in educating migrants: just 13 percent of its foreign-born population has completed university against 36 percent in the EU as a whole.
Average real incomes are roughly at the level they were in 1995. In France, Germany and Spain, they have grown about 25 percent.
3.2 percent of working-age Italians now live elsewhere in the EU, up from 2.4 percent in 2008. Read more
Italy Backs Down from Budget Fight with EU
The leaders of Italy’s ruling populist parties have backed down from a fight with the European Commission over their 2019 budget.
Luigi Di Maio, the labor minister and leader of the Five Star Movement, and Matteo Salvini, the interior minister and leader of the far-right League, said after a meeting on Sunday that they had given their blessing to Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte’s revised spending plan, which reduces next year’s shortfall from 2.4 to 2 percent of GDP. Read more
Italy’s Budget Standoff with the European Commission, Explained
The European Commission has told Italy to revise its budget for 2019, accusing it of “openly and consciously” reneging on the commitments it has made.
This has been reported as the commission “rejecting” Italy’s budget proposal, but that is too strong a term. It has no such power.
Here is what’s really going on — and what is likely to happen next. Read more
Rome on Collision Course with European Allies, Financial Markets
I cheered too soon. A few weeks ago, I reported that Italy’s populists were coming to terms with reality. Now they have introduced a spending plan that puts them on a collision course with the European Commission and financial markets.
Reneging on the commitment of the last government, the coalition of the anti-establishment Five Star Movement and far-right League, formed four months ago, proposes to run a deficit equal to 2.4 percent of GDP in 2019.
That is still below the EU’s 3-percent ceiling, but it is a reversal of the fiscal consolidation path followed so far and it means Italy’s public debt, already one of the highest in the world at 130 percent of GDP, will rise rather than fall. Read more