The new head of the Italian government Mario Draghi won the Senate vote of confidence on Wednesday evening on a reconstruction program for the country hit by the health and economic crisis. He promised to “fight the pandemic by all means”.
Mario Draghi obtained 262 votes in favor, 40 against and two abstentions, thus confirming the size of his parliamentary majority. The Chamber of Deputies will vote on confidence on Thursday, the final step in conferring full legitimacy on his government. By presenting his program in the morning, Mario Draghi called for “rebuilding” the country hit hard by the health and economic crisis, promising to “fight the pandemic by all means”.
“Like the governments of the immediate post-war period, we have a responsibility to launch a New Reconstruction,” he said when presenting his program to Parliament. “This is our mission as Italians: to leave a better and more just country to our children and grandchildren,” he added.
Mario Draghi, a very discreet 73-year-old man educated in the Jesuits, succeeded Giuseppe Conte on Saturday, forced to resign after the explosion of his coalition, as Italy approaches the 100,000 mark due to Covid and recorded one of the worst GDP drops in the euro zone in 2020 (-8.9%).
“The main duty to which we are all called (…) is to fight the pandemic by all means and to save the lives of our fellow citizens”, he stressed, while less than 1.3 million Italians out of a population of 60 million received the necessary doses for immunization.
“No Europe without Italy”
The former president of the European Central Bank (ECB) also pleaded for a “more integrated European Union which will result in a common public budget, capable of supporting member states during periods of recession”, while proclaiming “l ‘irreversibility of the choice of the euro’.
“Without Italy, there is no Europe,” said Mario Draghi, who heads a heterogeneous coalition from the left to the far right of the sovereignist platform Matteo Salvini. He also affirmed his desire to “strengthen” “strategic” relations with France and Germany.
The third largest economy in the area, which lost 444,000 jobs in 2020, relies heavily on the windfall of the European recovery plan, the payment of which is linked to the presentation in Brussels by the end of April of a detailed expenditure plan , one of the missions of the new government.
“We will have around 210 billion euros at our disposal over a six-year period. These resources will have to be spent to improve the growth potential of our economy ”, underlined Mario Draghi during his speech of three quarters of an hour, citing as priorities“ renewable energies, the fight against air pollution and water, the high-speed train (…), the production and distribution of hydrogen, digitization and 5G ”.
Redistribution of migrants
During a second intervention in the evening, Mario Draghi pleaded for a compulsory distribution of migrants between the various EU countries. “Italy, also supported by certain Mediterranean countries, is proposing as a concrete measure of solidarity a mechanism for the compulsory redistribution of migrants,” he said.
Faced with the arrival of tens of thousands of migrants, Rome has been asking for years for the renegotiation of the European Dublin regulation, which entrusts the processing of asylum requests to the country of arrival.
Since the President of the Republic Sergio Mattarella appealed to him on February 3, Mario Draghi has formed a majority ranging from the Democratic Party (PD, center left) to the far-right League of Matteo Salvini via Movement 5 Stars (M5S, anti-system until he came to power).
“Today unity is not an option, unity is a duty”, insisted Mario Draghi, while the beginnings of his government were marked by a virulent controversy against the Minister of Health Roberto Speranza, which announced on Sunday evening only the ban on reopening the ski slopes on Monday morning.
These first bickering bode well for Mario Draghi as Teresa Coratella, analyst at the European Council of Foreign Relations (ECFR), explains in an interview with AFP: “we have a very strong government from the point of view of the competence of the ministers, but with a very fragile political balance, with political interlocutors who change their opinion and are not very reliable ”.