The umpteenth Italian overturn takes Renzi and PD to unprecedented victory at EU elections

Herman van Rompuy, Matteo Renzi, Italian Prime Minister, and José Manuel Barroso (from right to left)

Herman van Rompuy, Matteo Renzi, Italian Prime Minister, and José Manuel Barroso (from right to left), EC Audiovisual Services

It’s been already three days since the final results of the EU Elections entered our homes and we had some time to digest and discuss about them. No matter how you would like to see it, Italy has surprised Europe once more. This is not exactly a positive thing for a country that is in desperate need of stability, but at the same time something we cannot deny. Italy is Europe’s chameleon, with a political situation that changed face and body more than once in less than 16 months.

It was one year and a half ago, January 2013, that one month before the national elections everyone predicted the PD, the centre-left party, to easily win the elections, with Pierluigi Bersani to be Italy’s next prime minister, Berlusconi to disappear forever and Mario Monti to be the EU’s best friend in the Italian parliament. Well, none of the above happened like expected. Bersani won the elections but was never able to run the country, Berlusconi made the phoenix look like a beginner when he rose from his ashes and the technocrat Monti, he completely disappeared. Oh, and there was a man called Beppe Grillo which gained an incredible, unexpected 25.5% with his anti-establishment Five Star Movement. After those elections there was Bersani serving as prime minister, as said, then the unlucky Enrico Letta and finally, after many turbulences, the young Matteo Renzi.

Everybody (or better said, most of the journalists and opinionists) then predicted that, in such fragile equilibrium, the euro-sceptic, anti-establishment movement lead by Grillo could have been the one to gain most of the Italian votes. But another surprise from the land of espresso was came last weekend. Monday morning’s one and only truth was that the European elections had given Italy’s Prime Minister Renzi a sharp victory, as the PD, the Democratic Party, won almost 41% of the votes in Belpaese.

Not even the most optimistic PD polls could have predicted this outcome, with preictions a few days before the vote showing the M5S (Movimento 5 Stelle – 5 Star Movement) going hand by hand with the PD. The former comedian’s movement gained a disappointing 21.15%, with recent opinion surveys indicating that many of the M5S’s supporters were confused and angered by Mr Grillo’s policy of non-co-operation with the centre-left. Many analysts vow that the returns showed that millions of M5S voters switched to the PD. We should never forget that the electoral result, although disappointing, is something important anyway, given the fact that 16 months ago no one was taking Mr Grillo’s movement seriously. The M5S, with more than one-fifth of the national vote, remains today one of the most popular in Europe outside the traditional mainstream political mix. Only Marine Le Pen’s Front National and Syriza in Greece did better than that.

Moreover, Silvio Berlusconi’s Forza Italia received just 16.8%, the lowest ever vote share in his two-decade political career. Angelino Alfano’s (former Berlusconi ally) Nuovo Centrodestra coalition barely got over the threshold for representation in the European Parliament with 4.38%, while the euro-sceptical North League, led by Matteo Salvini, received a moderate 6.15%.

The poll’s outcome gives some clear political conclusions for sure. Italy has voted for Europe, first of all. Grillo, although not making anti-Europeism exactly his main policy, has repeatedly pushed for a referendum on leaving the Euro, and believes that Europe deserves radical changes. His loss may tell that Italians don’t want this to happen, especially in terms of anti-Euro solutions.

Second, the scale of the victory seems to ‘legitimise’ the non-elected 39 year old prime minister at last. Renzi has got no excuses now and he knows that the post elections honeymoon will not last forever. The time has come to implement the ambitious plan of reforms he had promised so far. Italy’s sclerotic economy needs reforms very soon, and Renzi could have the right chance, as the European stock markets seemed to have taken his victory positively.

The FTSE MIB rose 2.7 percent on Monday, outpacing other major European indexes. Some observers believe that Sunday’s success would even allow Renzi to call anticipated national elections and consolidate his power in parliament. Renzi himself dismissed the idea, saying parliament should continue to its natural end in 2018.

Third, these results might allow Italy to have a stronger “presence” in Europe. In an after-elections situation which is actually positive for pro-EU forces, Italy’s Democratic Party will become the second-largest group in Strasbourg after Merkel’s centre-right bloc, and the biggest in the Party of European Socialists. The Belpaese could now become Southern European countries’ main vehicle of persuasion of Mrs Merkel, almost at the beginning of Italy’s rotating six-month presidency of the EU, which starts in July.

Early Monday morning Renzi tweeted his satisfaction, saying that he’s “moved and determined” after what he defined “a historic result”. He also declared that he is “determined now to work for an Italy that changes Europe”.

Follow @carlomotta_ on Twitter

the sting Milestone

Featured Stings

Can we feed everyone without unleashing disaster? Read on

These campaigners want to give a quarter of the UK back to nature

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

Chauvinism and xenophobia will lead to global assertiveness and more wars

Environmental labelling, information and management schemes are central to the circular economy

A Sting Exclusive: China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi on South China Sea issue at the ASEAN Regional Forum

Inequality triggered protests across Latin America. Here’s how the youth can help

Why saving our forests should be a global priority

UN condemns deadly simultaneous terrorist attacks on military camps in Mali

The EU-US trade agreement, victim of right-wing extremists and security lunatics

Yemen agreement to end southern power struggle ‘important step’ towards peace: UN Special Envoy

Killing of Egyptian peacekeeper in Mali ‘may constitute war crimes’ Guterres warns, urging ‘swift action’

The undead banks

Finland has just published everyone’s taxes on ‘National Jealousy Day’

5G in Russia: a local and global view on the way forward, in association with The European Sting

President Juncker temporarily transfers portfolio responsibilities following departure of two Members of the European Commission

The great sustainable reset: The new world of work after the pandemic

Progress toward sustainable development is seriously off-track

Energy security: The synchronisation of the Baltic States’ electricity networks – European solidarity in action

Deepening Europe’s Economic and Monetary Union: Commission takes stock of progress

What COVID-19 tells us about the changing nature of disaster risk

How technology can help us achieve universal healthcare

‘Emulate his example’ urges UN chief as world celebrates Nelson Mandela: a ‘global advocate for dignity and equality’

Generalist practicing: is it worth it?

Royal Navy to unveil future surveillance and reconnaissance requirements next February in Rome

French Prime Minister passes Stability Program and takes his ‘café’ in Brussels this June

4 myths about manufacturing in the Fourth Industrial Revolution

‘Action and tangible progress’ needed to finally ‘win the peace’ for Syrians: UN envoy

British PM May’s Brexit proposal remains obscure while her government unravels

Estonian Prime Minister Ratas: Europe is a thought that must become a feeling

Coronavirus could worsen hunger in the developing world

18th European Forum on Eco-innovation live from Barcelona: What’s next for eco-labelling?

Antitrust: Commission seeks feedback on commitments offered by Broadcom concerning TV set-top box and modem chipset markets

India is a latecomer to AI. Here’s how it plans to catch up

Mobile 360 Series – Russia & CIS: Empowering the Digital Economy

Monday’s Daily Brief: WFP mulls ‘last resort’ Yemen aid suspension, top peacekeeping awardee announced, abuzz over Bee Day, Ebola threat ‘very high’

5 libraries doing innovative things to help their communities

World Summit Awards 2016: Sustainable impact through digital innovation

‘Let the children live’: UN prepares to ramp up food aid to Yemen as famine risk grows

Brain Drain remains a crucial and unresolved issue

Nearly half a billion people can’t find decent work; unemployment set to rise: new UN labour report

How many more financial crises in the West can the world stand?

Fighting cybercrime – what happens to the law when the law cannot be enforced?

6 innovative technologies about to transform our infrastructure

EU on track to end use of chemicals harming the ozone layer

A roadmap for destination management in the digital economy

Brands can be a force for good and for growth. Here’s how

China’s Ambassador to the EU Zhang Ming wishes to Brussels a Happy 2019 Year of the Pig

Telemedicine can be a COVID-19 game-changer. Here’s how

What are the greatest global health threats?

Can fighting climate change bring the Arab world closer together?

How to make primary healthcare a favourable career choice for medical students: strategies and reflections

Shanghai has tough new recycling rules – and it will stop collecting trash from communities that don’t comply

‘Everyone must be on board’ for peace in Central African Republic: UN’s Lacroix

VW diesel scandal and climate change: can increased independent car checks lead to cleaner mobility?

EU to Turkey: No other ties than €3+3bn to upkeep refugees

Rural women a ‘powerful force’ for global climate action: UN Secretary-General

The EU will always have a stable partner in Montenegro, says President Đukanović

Youth unemployment: think out of the box

Just transition in EU regions: support to people, economy and environment

Scientists in Sweden are studying the climate-cooling effects of spruce forests

These are the fastest trains in the world

Long-term EU budget: Parliament wants safety net for beneficiaries

More Stings?

Advertising

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s