Draghi begins to design the reform plan to refloat Italy | International

The Prime Minister of Italy, Mario Draghi, in his first council of ministers, this Saturday, in Rome.
The Prime Minister of Italy, Mario Draghi, in his first council of ministers, this Saturday, in Rome.POOL / Reuters

Mario Draghi will be submitted on Wednesday and Thursday to the investiture vote of the Italian Chambers. The former banker will make his first speech as prime minister there and will show some of his letters. But Draghi has already started working. It has crucial issues on the table such as redesigning the recovery plan to invest the 209,000 million in aid from the EU (the one made by the Government of Giuseppe Conte is unfeasible). In return, it will have to undertake reforms in the justice, the public Treasury and the Administration. And, above all, decide whether Italy needs to decree a second major lockdown.

Mario Draghi already works for Italy. The first meeting of the Council of Ministers, held last Saturday, lasted 40 minutes. The former banker refused to ring the traditional bell. No folklore. He asked his ministers not to talk too much to the press. “Be good,” he told them. And his team reported to the media that they would not communicate anything until there was something to communicate. And it was not the case. That will be the first change that a country accustomed to political noise will notice. Draghi and his narrower team come from the economic world, where every extra word can cost a lot of money (the legendary three words he spoke in July 2012 saved the euro). So that will be the rule to realize a complicated schedule.

Mario Draghi will dress tomorrow and the day after as a politician for the first time and will make his debut in the Chamber of Deputies and the Senate. He will deliver speeches and his investiture will be voted on. The only question is whether the 5 Star Movement will support him en bloc or will crack with a group of opposing parliamentarians. Immediately afterwards, it will have to clear up the most urgent problems such as redesigning the Recovery Plan that the previous Executive had made and establishing a governance body. It will also have to face the eternal problem of the airline Alitalia – which has already cost more than 9,000 million euros to the public coffers -, that of the Monte Dei Paschi bank and the Ilva steel company. It will also have to make an urgent decision on blocking layoffs: on March 31 the deadline given by the previous Executive expires and the unemployment rate could skyrocket dramatically. All this, with the first big decision about the pandemic.

New confinement. The pandemic data are not good in Italy (7,531 infections were reported this Monday). They rise again, also the rate of transmission for each infected. The most important virologists and the main adviser of the Ministry of Health, Walter Ricciardi, advise the total closure of the country. “It can last one, two, three or four weeks. It depends on how long it takes to lower the incidence again ”, said Ricciardi. Draghi, aware that the Italian economy would have many problems to withstand a new confinement, will have to look for formulas to preserve it. Growth data for Italy (3.4%), the penultimate of the 27 EU countries, will again be below the European Union average in 2021. The arrival of Draghi has already caused the plummet of the risk premium. Despite this, part of the new Government, led by the current of the League and Matteo Salvini, is pushing so that there are no more closures.

Draghi also wants to speed up the vaccination plan, which began this Monday with those over 80 years of age. Italy is the second country in Europe in the rate of administration of vaccines. But the new prime minister wants to establish a single platform across the country and try to establish a vaccine production point in Italy. The goal is to reach 300,000 vaccinations a day. All this while waiting for the first Italian vaccine (Reithera), which could arrive in June.

More appointments. Draghi has configured an Executive with 23 ministries, of which 15 are occupied by political profiles. It is the surface of a government that will take shape with at least 36 more positions between secretaries of state and vice ministers. The most difficult game will be played now, because you will have to re-establish a balance of forces and, at the same time, infiltrate your trusted men in each of the areas.

This Monday he assigned the post of Chief of Staff to Antonio Funiciello, 43 years old. He is a journalist and communication expert who has already held a similar position in the Executive of Paolo Gentiloni and linked to the orbit of the Democratic Party (PD). Draghi has not yet said who will be his spokesperson.

Tax reform and Justice. Reform of the tax system will be one of the priorities of the Draghi mandate. Already in the consultations with the parties, he announced his intention to increase the progressivity of the rates, just on the opposite line of the flat rate that the League wanted. The idea that the parties have counted these days is that the pressure on incomes below 40,000 euros could be reduced somewhat. But it would be offset by new rules against tax evasion.

The reform of Civil Justice, entrusted to the new minister and former president of the Constitutional Court, Marta Cartabia, also aims to have an impact on the economy. It has been an express request of the European Union in the framework of the recovery plan. The particularly long and cumbersome processes in Italy do not offer sufficient guarantees to foreign investors. The acceleration of public works is another objective. Draghi has given the example of the Genoa model, where the Morandi Bridge was rebuilt quickly and efficiently. Italy currently has 59 major key infrastructure projects. To do this, a major Administration reform must be undertaken to simplify the regulations and the public concession process.

Leadership in Europe. Italy aspires to become the voice of the European Union under Draghi. The year in which the transalpine country will preside over the G20 coincides with the withdrawal of Angela Merkel in Germany and it will be the same year in which Emmanuel Macron will have to immerse himself in an intense electoral campaign for 2022. Once the United Kingdom leaves the EU , Draghi will be the most authoritative profile among his peers. “Dreaming of breaking the Franco-German axis is too much. But it is evident that there are few more respected voices right now on the continent ”, sources from the new Executive point to this newspaper.

Italy also aspires to lead relations with the US Draghi has great relations with several members of the new Joe Biden Administration. The US president has already said that he cannot wait to “start working” with him and could also mediate in the recent conflicts over the European trade agreements with China.