Voters Punish Italy’s Renzi as Reforms Stall

Italian prime minister Matteo Renzi answers questions from reporters in Modena, September 17, 2015
Italian prime minister Matteo Renzi answers questions from reporters in Modena, September 17, 2015 (Palazzo Chigi)

To his credit, Italian prime minister Matteo Renzi did not try to spin his party’s lackluster performance in elections this weekend.

“We are not satisfied and we’re not going to put on a fake smile,” said the former mayor of Florence after it became clear his candidate had lost the first round of the mayoral election in Rome, the capital, to the anti-establishment Five Star Movement.

Democrats did not do well in other major cities either. The center-right could take control of both Milan and Naples. Read more “Voters Punish Italy’s Renzi as Reforms Stall”

Renzi Should Finish the Job He Started

Italian prime minister Matteo Renzi answers questions from reporters in Rome, December 10, 2015
Italian prime minister Matteo Renzi answers questions from reporters in Rome, December 10, 2015 (Palazzo Chigi)

Italy’s prime minister, Matteo Renzi, has lately taken a hard line against the rest of the European Union, warning that German-inspired austerity is fanning the flames of populism.

The rhetoric is self-serving. Renzi is trying to scare the European Commission into signing off on his generous spending plans when the pace of Italy’s fiscal consolidation and economic reform has slowed. Read more “Renzi Should Finish the Job He Started”

Italy’s Renzi Stabs Central Europeans in the Back

Matteo Renzi
Italian prime minister Matteo Renzi answers a reporter’s question in Berlin, Germany, July 1, 2015 (Palazzo Chigi)

This website sort of praised Italy’s prime minister, Matteo Renzi, last month when he accused Germany and the Netherlands of hypocrisy for supporting EU sanctions against Russia while still going ahead with the extension of a Baltic Sea pipeline that bypasses Central Europe.

We argued that it was a bit rich for Renzi, of all people, to complain, given that his country continued to support another proposed Russian gas pipeline, South Stream, after Russia had invaded and annexed the Crimean Peninsula away from Ukraine.

But he did have a point. The European Union imposed an embargo to dissuade further Russian aggression in Central and Eastern Europe yet two of the bloc’s richest member states are committed to building a pipeline that leaves those same nations in the cold. Read more “Italy’s Renzi Stabs Central Europeans in the Back”

Hypocritical Renzi Has a Point on Nord Stream

Italian prime minister Matteo Renzi and German chancellor Angela Merkel address a joint news conference in Berlin, March 25, 2014
Italian prime minister Matteo Renzi and German chancellor Angela Merkel address a joint news conference in Berlin, March 25, 2014 (Bundesregierung)

It’s a bit rich for Italy, of all nations, to complain that another European Union member state is prioritizing its own energy security over the bloc’s efforts to diversify away from Russia.

But that doesn’t mean it’s wrong. Read more “Hypocritical Renzi Has a Point on Nord Stream”

Renzi Welcomes Budget Fight with Commission

Matteo Renzi Christine Lagarde Barack Obama
Italian prime minister Matteo Renzi, IMF director Christine Lagarde and American president Barack Obama speak at the G8 summit in Bavaria, Germany, June 8 (European Council)

Italian prime minister Matteo Renzi challenged the European Commission on Friday to reject his budget proposal for next year that includes popular tax cuts but would do little to liberalize the bloc’s third largest economy.

Renzi told Radio 24 that if the European executive rejects his spending plan, “We will submit it again unchanged.”

The commission “cannot be telling us which tax is the right one to cut,” he maintained. Read more “Renzi Welcomes Budget Fight with Commission”

Tax Cuts Could See Renzi Clash with Commission

Italian prime minister Matteo Renzi answers a reporter's question in Berlin, Germany, July 1
Italian prime minister Matteo Renzi answers a reporter’s question in Berlin, Germany, July 1 (Palazzo Chigi)

Matteo Renzi’s proposal for €35 billion worth of tax cuts over the next three years could see Italy once again at odds with the European Commission over fiscal policy.

The Financial Times reports that Renzi, who took power last year after leading a coup against the former Democratic Party leader, Enrico Letta, wants to reduce taxes on first homes next year, corporate taxes in 2017 and income taxes in 2018. Read more “Tax Cuts Could See Renzi Clash with Commission”

Italy’s Renzi Faces Test for Reforms in Local Elections

Italian prime minister Matteo Renzi faces an electoral test for his ambitious reform program that has alienated the most leftist members of his Democratic Party.

Seven of Italy’s regions and more than a thousand municipalities hold elections this weekend. Renzi’s party controls five of the regions where elections are held. Read more “Italy’s Renzi Faces Test for Reforms in Local Elections”

Renzi Sees Off Critics, Pushes Through Italian Voting Reform

Matteo Renzi Angela Merkel
Italian prime minister Matteo Renzi and German chancellor Angela Merkel address a joint news conference in Berlin, March 25, 2014 (Bundesregierung)

Italian lawmakers late on Monday approved an overhaul of the voting system that should make it easier for Prime Minister Matteo Renzi to win reelection.

But some leftwingers, and many in the opposition, were critical, calling the reform a power grab. Read more “Renzi Sees Off Critics, Pushes Through Italian Voting Reform”

Italy’s Renzi Loosens the Reins on Spending

David Cameron Matteo Renzi
Prime Ministers David Cameron of the United Kingdom and Matteo Renzi of Italy meet in London, England, April 1, 2014 (The Prime Minister’s Office)

It seems Italy is preparing to loosen the reins on spending again after barely making an effort to shrink the public sector.

Prime Minister Matteo Renzi announced on Friday €1.8 billion had been found “left on the side” and would be used to finance new stimulus measures. Read more “Italy’s Renzi Loosens the Reins on Spending”

Italy’s Renzi Wins Senate Support for Electoral Reforms

The facade of the Palazzo Montecitorio, the seat of the Italian parliament, in Rome, October 23, 2010
The facade of the Palazzo Montecitorio, the seat of the Italian parliament, in Rome, October 23, 2010 (Stefano Maffei)

Italy’s prime minister, Matteo Renzi, has won his Senate’s approval for an amendment to a new electoral law, paving the way for an overhaul of the voting system that is designed to make the country more governable.

Members of both Renzi’s Democratic Party and former prime minister Silvio Berlusconi’s right-wing Forza Italia backed the reforms.

Some Democrats joined the opposition in voting against the measure, however, refusing to support any law that is also supported by their former nemesis. Read more “Italy’s Renzi Wins Senate Support for Electoral Reforms”