After the rejection of the ESM, the budget law will be presented to the Chamber next week

Photo of author

By John

The Montecitorio Chamber’s rejection of the reform of the European Stability Mechanism splits the majority and puts the Minister of Economy in crisis Giancarlo Giorgetti. A bolt from the blue struck the majority and the government when the Chamber of Deputies, last Thursday, put the vote on the ESM on the agenda, to the dismay of the head of the Economy who had already been engaged for several months in a difficult negotiation with Brussels. Everything came to a head in a matter of hours. Until a few days ago there was the belief that the ESM would be discussed again in the new year, while already on Wednesday evening the team order arrived from the leader of the League Matteo Salvini, with the backing of the prime minister, to speed up the process for parliamentary passage. The will is clear: to close the ESM matter before the budget law.

With this step, Salvini wanted to close the issue quickly and free the Minister of Economy, with whom it is well known that there are no idyllic relations, so much so that the owner of Via XX Settembre distanced himself from the leader of his party by stating that if had it been up to him he would have voted in favor of the ESM reform. “The Italian economy is solid, we are growing more than the French and the Germans. The ESM was a useless, unused, outdated, harmful instrument. An Italian pensioner or worker would have had to pay to save a German bank; therefore, Parliament exercised its democratic right to reject a useless and harmful instrument and the spread fell. We did what we had to do to defend the jobs and savings of Italians”, so in Milan Matteo Salvini responded to reporters on the rejection of the ESM.

On the opposition front, after the Prime Minister’s speech in Parliament last week in which she indicated the 5 Star Movement as the promoter of the ESM when she was in government, also showing a fax to the Senate sent to Brussels by the then Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio, the five-star leader Giuseppe Conte asked the President of the Chamber Lorenzo Fontana to establish an honorary jury to evaluate the truthfulness of the Prime Minister’s statements.

An operation that puts the former prime minister at the center of the opposition and increases the distance with the Democratic Party led by Elly Schlein, indicated by Romano Prodi as federator of the progressive camp. A role already claimed by Giuseppe Conte himself in the days following the resignation of his second government, which to this day has remained uncovered, given the distances that remain strong between the oppositions. All that remains is to wait a few months to see how the political formations will behave in view of the next European elections, and to understand what the next Italian and European political framework will be like.

Giorgetti’s words at the end of the vote in Montecitorio were unequivocal: “The Minister of Economy was interested in the ESM being approved for economic-financial reasons. But, given how the debate developed, jury of honor and stuff of this type, it seemed clear to me that there was no air for approval, for reasons that are not only economic”. For these words, someone from the opposition calls for the resignation of the minister who replies: “The opposition’s advice is always useful but allow me… then I’ll decide”. Case closed.

Meanwhile, the budget law has been approved by the hall of Palazzo Madama, and will arrive in Montecitorio next week for approval by the Chamber of Deputies. At the moment, there does not appear to be a weakening of Giorgetti, given that Matteo Salvini intervened directly on the topic, stating full agreement and harmony with the Minister of Economy, clearing away the various background stories that portray them as distant. Certainly the already difficult relations with Europe are becoming increasingly complicated, especially in view of the next elections with the growing climate of electoral campaigning. In the meantime, the opposition has asked for an urgent report from Giorgetti in the Budget Committee of the Chamber. The Minister of Economy has indicated his willingness to intervene in the commission next Wednesday 27 December, but, his staff specify, the minister’s participation will be concentrated exclusively on the budget law and not on the ESM. All other issues will be discussed later elsewhere.

Fratelli d’Italia and Lega voted against, while Forza Italia abstained, effectively certifying a split in the majority in addition to Giorgetti’s dissent. But if the majority appears to be less than united, the opposition confirms an irreparable rift. Democratic Party, Italia Viva, Action and +Europa voted in favour, the Green and Left Alliance abstained, while the 5 Star Movement voted against, as announced several times by the leader Giuseppe Conte. Apparently the ministers would have been informed at the final stage of the vote, and the Quirinale would not even have been informed in advance.