The West ‘breathes’ when Mattarella is re-elected President of Italy
After a week of secret ballots and intense negotiations, Italy’s parties have agreed to re-elect Sergio Mattarella as president for a second seven-year term. As such, Prime Minister Mario Draghi, the leading candidate to replace Mr Mattarella, will continue in his current role until the end of his term in 2023.
Many parties in Italy initially disagreed with Mattarella’s re-election as president, which had a ceremonial role but had the power to choose the prime minister. In fact, it took them eight rounds of voting to reach a consensus on this choice, mainly due to political deadlock and the lack of viable alternatives, rather than a clear political strategy. of the ruling coalition.
However, it is not difficult to see that Mr Mattarella’s re-election as President is the best result, in the context of Europe’s many difficulties. This is great news not only for Italy but also for the EU and the US for three reasons.
Implementation of the EU recovery plan
Firstly, Mr Mattarella as President will help Italy properly implement the EU’s recovery plan. In 2021, former President of the European Central Bank (ECB), Prime Minister Mario Draghi plays an important role in efforts to recover Rome’s economy after the Covid-19 pandemic, using the budget and more than 220 billion euros of EU money support. Mr Draghi also reached an agreement with the European Commission to disburse this fund.
The success of the EU recovery plan in Rome is of great significance to the block as a whole because Italy is currently the largest recipient of funding. Failure to properly disburse this amount will cause significant consequences for the competitiveness of Italy in particular and the EU in general.
The continued leadership of Mr Mattarella and Mr Draghi through 2023 will therefore help ensure that Italy’s recovery plan continues to work as intended.
Stabilize financial markets
In addition, the above results will contribute to restoring and maintaining the stability of the financial market. Italy needs both an internationally reputable president and a stable government in the near term to avoid sending dangerous signals to already volatile markets.
Rising inflationary pressures, uncertainty over how many central banks will raise interest rates, quantitative easing programs aimed at supporting economies have contributed to the sell-off on global stock and financial markets.
More importantly, Italy’s public finances depend on the ability to borrow money at attractive interest rates. The day Draghi was appointed prime minister, the spread between the interest rates at which Germany and Italy could borrow on 10-year government bonds fell to 0.9%, the lowest level in more than a decade.
The spread is currently 1.3% and Rome needs to keep it flat, meaning investors must continue to have confidence in Italy’s post-pandemic recovery plan.
In that context, Mr Mattarella is a pro-European force, contributing to the stability of Italy, while also ensuring that Mr Draghi remains Prime Minister until 2023. Also, look at the elections in Italy this year. In 2023, it should be remembered that the president has the power not only to choose the prime minister, but also to approve the decision to appoint all the ministers in the government, or even to dissolve the National Assembly.
The weight of voices in Europe
Finally, when France elects a president in April and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz needs time to catch up with European foreign policy, Italy will play an important role in determining the EU’s position on Russia and China soon.
The United States and other NATO allies are increasingly concerned about the possibility of conflict between Russia and Ukraine, as negotiations over the crisis have yet to yield results. In that context, the EU needs strong leadership in the coming time. Italy, under the leadership of Prime Minister Draghi and supported by the President, Commander-in-Chief of the Army Mattarella, will play an important part in presenting the EU’s opinion should a conflict break out.
In addition, the US and the West believe that the conflict in Ukraine will make China more assertive. If they move to impose tougher sanctions on Vladimir Putin’s administration, Moscow will become increasingly dependent on Beijing.
The risk of US isolation cannot be ruled out if the EU’s largest economies hinder Joe Biden’s tougher action by continuing to reconcile with Russia.
In that case, the Italian government led by Prime Minister Mario Draghi and President Sergio Mattarella could be a reliable NATO ally, respected by the international community, exactly what the United States really needs in these difficult times.