Renzi says he will stand up to Merkel – really?
Jorg Asmussen said on Friday that the key to the future of the eurozone lies in Italy – a statement we agree with. Perhaps the best glimpse of what to expect after the Letta/Grand Coalition intermezzo came in a speech by Matteo Renzi, the mayor of Florence, who laid out his agenda at a party convention, promising a number of concrete reforms.
Both Corriere della Sera and La Repubblica lead this morning’s paper with this story– both focusing on the radicalism of his agenda. “A left that doesn’t change, is called the right,” he said, and then laid an agenda of the abolition of provinces, institutional reforms, and privatisation programmes. He said the left needed to change from ground up in order to govern. He was blunt in saying that he does not talk about labour.
We noted that this section on Europe was lame by comparison. He seemed to suggest a new deal for Italy to manage the economy and not to please chancellor Merkel but for the benefit of the next generation of Italians – whatever that meant in practice.
One of his loudest opponents in the PD is Stefano Fassini, deputy economics minister, who wrote in his column in the Huffington Post that Renzi’s proposal to reduce the tax wedge by some €20bn did not add up. He said one cannot fund tax cuts through state asset sales, as the latter are one-off, and the former are permanent. The same goes for Renzi’s proposals to cut a military investment programme. He says if Renzi wants to make proposals to cut the tax wedge, he has yet to do so.
Silvio Berlusconi, meanwhile, went ahead with this earlier announcement to rename the PdL into Forza Italia, a vote take with unanimity by the party’s leadership, but the five PdL ministers and several other moderate parliamentarians boycotting the vote. La Repubblica has a backgrounder according to which a split in the party is now very likely to split– an event now widely anticipated inside the Berlusconi camp.