A difficult task for the Italian Government

Officially taking over as head of the Italian government from her predecessor Mario Draghi, Giorgia Meloni will have to work with her associates to perform a series of urgent tasks. The Italians expect that the new leadership will run this European country through the current turbulent period.
Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni (Photo: AFP/VNA)
Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni (Photo: AFP/VNA)

Italy’s first female Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni took over the “hot seat” as the country faced a series of overlapping crises. Experts say that the new government will focus on domestic policies, in line with Meloni's political line of “Italy first”.

Having been judged by the public to be modest in her leadership experience, Meloni has established a government apparatus with a number of veteran faces. This somewhat reassures Italian partners.

Accordingly, Giancarlo Giorgetti of the League party, who served under the previous government of former Prime Minister Draghi, was appointed as Economy Minister. Former European Parliament President Antonio Tajani of the Forza Italia party has been appointed Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister.

The Italian people and the international community are looking forward to a new government, capable of solving a range of hot issues, from health, and economy to foreign affairs. Like her predecessors, Prime Minister Meloni faces the daunting, nagging problem of reviving a stagnant economy, with public debt at more than 150 per cent of gross domestic product (GDP).

Hyperinflation and rising energy costs, due to geopolitical tensions in the region, add to the difficulty of this problem. Inflation in Italy rose to 8.9% in September. The General Confederation of Italian Industry (Confindustria) has recently urged the government to provide an additional rescue package worth 40-50 billion EUR, to prevent thousands of companies from falling into bankruptcy due to high energy prices.

According to a report by the Cerved Economic Research Institute, in the industrial city of Terni, up to 24.5% of the 16,000 companies surveyed, are at risk of bankruptcy in the near future. Nearly 70 per cent of Italians said they plan to reduce shopping costs by the end of the year, in the face of rising inflation and energy prices.

The new Italian government also has to perform another urgent task of carrying out the reforms committed to getting the European Union (EU) to disburse the recovery fund after the COVID-19 pandemic, with a total value of more than 200 billion EUR.

Earlier, Prime Minister Meloni's predecessor secured the disbursement of about 70 billion EUR during his term. Recently, PM Meloni left open that a small part of this support could be redirected to the purpose of helping Italian consumers during the current price storm.

Regarding foreign affairs, the policies of the Italian Government are facing scepticism from partners. Because for the EU, a new right-wing government in Italy could lead to conflicts with the bloc on issues such as migration policy, and foreign policy related to the situation in Ukraine.

Although the new Prime Minister of Italy has vowed not to pursue extreme policies, such as taking Italy out of the EU, Meloni’s hardline views on migration may also go against the spirit of the whole bloc.

Recently, both Secretary-General of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) Jens Stoltenberg and President of the European Commission (EC) Ursula von der Leyen, expressed their desire to promote constructive cooperation with the new government in Italy, to address common challenges.

People expect that the government's reform measures will blow new wind and help Italy overcome the current difficult period.