PM Gentiloni’s government, the new configuration of the Italian political system

T
he government led by Paolo Gentiloni, obscure Foreign Minister of the vacuous but electrifying Renzi’s government, replaces the previous government but also marks the start of a new political configuration.

The aims of this new government will be the return to the proportional representation voting system, with a small hurdle (3/4%) and a new role played by the government in mediating among the Parliamentary forces and between them and the President of the Republic.

The Democratic Party (PD) will play the same role as the former Christian Democratic Party (DC), Grillo’s Five Star Movement will play the same role as the old Communist Party (PCI) and Meloni’s Brothers of Italy – National Alliance and Salvini’s Northern League will play the same role as the former national right party, Italian Social Movement (MSI).

This government seems to be follower of the liberal laissez-faire approach, but only because it has no impact on various situations and problems. It is also an inert and inactive political system, because Italy is increasingly irrelevant on the international economic scene, of which not only does it not manage some flows, but does not even know how to do so.

The current government is certainly a “photocopy” of Matteo Renzi’s, considering that the rude and ill-mannered “little boy” of Rignano sull’Arno has not lost the election, but only a referendum on a bizarre law reforming the representation system that he had overburdened so much with values and effects, it had not, to vex both his supporters and the majority of voters.

What was particularly irritating were the stadium cheer, the never-ending repetition of slogans and the glib tongue of the “little boy” from Pontassieve, never letting others retort or raise objections .

Now, de facto, he is still the leader inspiring and controlling most of Gentiloni’s government actions.

It is a new form of Parliamentary system, the so-called “ventriloquial” government.

However, what does the new President of the Council of Ministers, Paolo Gentiloni, plan to do?

In his speech before Parliament he dwelt - with sloppy language - on the main actions to be taken with a view to achieving the well-known Italy’s "relaunch".

A sloppy language is indicative of a lack of ideas.

Firstly, in his opinion, our economy - which is "recovering" - must not miss the opportunity of the new trend of global growth.

The usual refrain by Matteo Renzi, who knows nothing and gets thrilled for everything.

Neither the Italian recovery nor the global growth trend are materializing.

According to SVIMEZ, since 2008 the industrial production has fallen by 35% and investment by 59%.

In Italy the current unemployment rate is 11.4% and, according to the European Commission, a further 12% of people have left the labour market.

In the South of Italy, the youth unemployment rate is huge: 65% in Calabria, 56% in Sicily and 53% in Campania, despite the fact that every year 100,000 young people migrate abroad from the South.

Banks - which, in Gentiloni’s opinion, are "basically sound" - record a 20% share of non-performing loans, which is the highest level in Europe.

Moreover, the European Stability Pact prevents Italy from creating a "bad bank" where all these non-performing loans can be channelled.

According to the strange EU legal experts, this would be a sort of "State aid" that the naïve EU institutions and experts consider Absolute Evil.

Spain, however, did so and Germany backed its Landesbanken which were floundering in a deep crisis.

Furthermore the European Union imposed penalties also on Real Madrid, Barcelona and five other Spanish football clubs, whereas - with an absent-minded and inattentive approach – it is thinking of accepting State aid to the bank Monte dei Paschi di Siena.

The EU has no single and unambiguous policy, despite the endless codicils of its rules and regulations.

If banks - which are not "an aid to recovery", unlike what maintained by the optimistic Paolo Gentiloni – have run up too much debt to survive, the option will only be the arrival of the Troika.

Germany "called" it for us on December 6, by stating that the new Gentiloni’s government should ask for an aid program to the European Stability Mechanism (ESM).

Germany even wants the IMF’s parallel support.

Furthermore the German leaders and politicians maintain that if the new government does not truly modernize the country, there will certainly be the Italexit from the euro.

This is the reality we have to face, which is a thousand miles away from the optimism of Gentiloni’s new “photocopy” government.

On top of it, we need to carefully consider the situation of the small entrepreneurs and young people who leave the country to go and work abroad - currently an uncontainable flood of people.

Between 2008 and 2014 as many as 14,000 small and medium-sized companies (SME)were wiped away. In 2015 a lower number of companies exited the market due to bankruptcy proceedings or voluntary liquidation procedures - less than usual, but the trend has not been reversed yet and it has not returned to pre-2008 levels.

There is no Italian economy without the SMEs: they record a turnover of 838 billion euros, a value-added equal to 189 billion euros and a debt to the tune of 255 billion euro.

Hence the weak recovery depends on the severe lack of investment.

And where can we find governments’ ability to attract foreign and national capital for the industrial revival, considering that investment is falling in every part of the world, except for China and the Russian Federation?

In 2015 alone, over 107,000 Italian citizens left the country.

Five million Italians already live abroad - 36.7% in the 18-34 and 35-49 age groups.

A huge stream of people that impoverishes professions and innovation. This is also a cost, which the State and families bear without having any benefit, amounting to 700,000 euros per each graduate leaving the country.

Not to mention the many entrepreneurs who committed suicide because of the crisis.

In the first half of 2016 the cases of suicide for economic reasons have been 81, involving both workers and entrepreneurs at the same time.

36.4% of the total number of suicides for economic reasons were committed by entrepreneurs who could no longer run their companies and pay their workers.

In 2015 the rate of entrepreneurs who committed suicide was equal to 46.1%.

There exists no elsewhere in Europe the same amount of entrepreneurs committing suicide. This means that the nice story told by Italian governments and Italian research centres on the "magnificent and progressive fate" – just to quote the verse that Giacomo Leopardi took from his cousin, Terenzio Mamiani, to ironically challenge his blind belief in the unlimited and extraordinary progress for the human race - .is only a beautiful fairy tale.

With a view to redressing the budget deficit, the Italian GDP should grow at least at a 1.3% pace for the next six months, thus enabling Italy to achieve a deficit-GDP ratio slightly over 2%.

Reverting to the new Gentiloni’s government, we need to recall the gaffes made by the current Prime Minister.

The abstention on the UNESCO Resolution denying the link between Judaism and the sacred sites of Jerusalem was presented by the then Foreign Minister Gentiloni as a success for the "yes" vote, with endless and irrelevant digressions and cogitations.

Not to mention an explicit desire to cede sovereignty to the EU shown in a twitter of 2012.

We have governments that have long wanted only to go on holiday and leave everything in the hands of the European Union, which is not necessarily our ally but also our competitor.

It is also worth recalling Gentiloni’s advice to Donald Trump not to change his policy on nuclear power, Iran and climate and how the President-elect reacted on these three topics.

Let us not forget, however, the most severe issues, such as India, which fooled us - when Gentiloni was Foreign Minister - on the exhausting and shameful matter of the two Italian marines.

Not to mention the tragedy of the Italian researcher, Giulio Regeni, in which the then Foreign Minister did not touch a ball, thus leaving even the Egyptian leaders speechless.

Finally not a gaffe, but a truth, namely the statement of the then Foreign Minister Gentiloni that there are also terrorists on migrants’ boats - a truth soon denied by him, for fear of the left representatives within the government.

It would take America to delegate our foreign policy to him, but this is not the case.

And indeed Renzi’s US myth looked like the replica of the well-known character of Nando Mericoni in the movie An American in Rome, a satire of Americanization starring Alberto Sordi.

We should also add the project for a "Syrian transition beyond Assad" – one of Gentiloni’s singular and far-fetched idea, given what is happening on the ground which, however, can be understood if we consider the great and sometimes funny servility of this government and the previous Renzi’s government vis-à-vis America.

And what about his crazy cry at New York’s Italian Consulate on September 23 last, when he concluded his speech by shouting "Go, Hillary, go" at the top of his lungs?

An allied country must not interfere in the affairs of a friendly State, let alone Renzi’s funding of Hillary Clinton’s election campaign - an unlawful and dangerous behaviour.

Gentiloni also expressed full solidarity with Turkish President Erdogan after the failed coup, not to mention Italy’s full support for Fayez al-Serraj in Libya, the politician the international community "chose" as new leader in Libya.

The fact is that al-Serraj rules just on his palace along the shores of Tripoli, whereas it would have been smarter to distribute our support to the major non-jihadist parties involved.

But now our foreign policy is in the hands of mere amateurs who serve others’ interest rather than our own.

There is no longer Italy’s national interest, but only the provincial and narrow-minded rhetoric of politically correct which is turned into foreign policy by these petty politicians.

Giancarlo Elia Valori

Advisory Board Co-chair Honoris Causa

Professor Giancarlo Elia Valori is an eminent Italian economist and businessman. He holds prestigious academic distinctions and national orders. Mr Valori has lectured on international affairs and economics at the world’s leading universities such as Peking University, the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and the Yeshiva University in New York.

He currently chairs "La Centrale Finanziaria Generale Spa", he is also the honorary president of Huawei Italy, economic adviser to the Chinese giant HNA Group and member of the Ayan-Holding Board.

In 1992 he was appointed Officier de la Légion d'Honneur de la République Francaise, with this motivation: "A man who can see across borders to understand the world” and in 2002 he received the title of "Honorable" of the Académie des Sciences de l'Institut de France

 

ABOUT MD

Modern Diplomacy is an invaluable platform for assessing and evaluating complex international issues that are often outside the boundaries of mainstream Western media and academia. We provide impartial and unbiased qualitative analysis in the form of political commentary, policy inquiry, in-depth interviews, special reports, and commissioned research.

 

MD Newsletter

 

 

RSS Feeds from MD

Regions
Topics
NewsRoom

Top