News / Europe

    Renzi Poised to Form New Italian Government

    Italy's Prime Minister-designate Matteo Renzi arrives to speak to reporters after a meeting with President Giorgio Napolitano at the Quirinale Palace in Rome Feb. 17, 2014.
    Italy's Prime Minister-designate Matteo Renzi arrives to speak to reporters after a meeting with President Giorgio Napolitano at the Quirinale Palace in Rome Feb. 17, 2014.
    Reuters
    Italian center-left leader Matteo Renzi said on Monday he would begin talks to form a new government within 24 hours, and expected to lay out a program of reforms to be completed over the next few months.
     
    Renzi needs to seal a formal coalition deal with the small center-right NCD party to secure a majority and to name his cabinet before seeking a formal vote of confidence in parliament, probably later this week.
     
    He has promised a radical program of action to lift Italy out of its most serious economic slump since World War Two, but will have to deal with the same unwieldy coalition which failed to pass major reforms under its previous leader.
     
    “In this difficult situation, I will bring all the energy and commitment I am capable of,” he told reporters after a 90-minute meeting with President Giorgio Napolitano when he was given a mandate to form a new government.
     
    “The sense of urgency is extraordinarily delicate and important but it's also true that, given the time horizon we have set of a full parliamentary term, we'll need a few days before formally accepting the mandate,” he said.
     
    The 39-year-old mayor of Florence has been expected to take over since he engineered the removal of his party rival Enrico Letta as prime minister at a meeting of the Democratic Party leadership last week, following growing impatience with the slow pace of economic reforms.
     
    The euro zone's third largest economy is technically no longer in recession since it scraped back into growth in the fourth quarter of 2013. However, it remains profoundly marked by the crisis with a two trillion euro ($2.7 trillion) public debt, a rapidly crumbling industrial base and millions out of work.
     
    Renzi has promised swift action to create jobs, reduce taxes and cut back the stifling bureaucracy weighing on employers and business, but has offered few specific policy proposals and a promised Jobs Act expected last month has been delayed.
     
    However, he said he expected to lay out full reforms to Italy's electoral law and political institutions by the end of February, to be followed by labor reforms in March, an overhaul of the public administration in April and a tax reform in May.
     
    Economy ministry choice eyed
     
    With the formal steps leading to the formation of a new government underway, attention has focused on Renzi's likely choice as economy minister who will be vital to reassuring Italy's international partners.
     
    Speculation has concentrated on Lucrezia Reichlin, a professor at the London School of Economics who is also in the running to become deputy governor of the Bank of England.
     
    If confirmed, her appointment would continue a series of technocrat finance ministers following Bank of Italy official Fabrizio Saccomanni, the incumbent, and his predecessor Vittorio Grilli, a senior official from the Treasury.
     
    Other possible candidates include Fabrizio Barca, a minister in the technocrat government of Mario Monti which ran Italy from 2011 until last year, and Giampaolo Galli, a PD member of parliament and former Bank of Italy economist with a background in the business association Confindustria.
     
    Renzi declined to comment on the possible makeup of his cabinet. “Our attention is on content and not other issues,” he told reporters after meeting the president.
     
    One area which European Union partners will be watching closely is budget policy, an area where Letta stuck to strict Brussels orthodoxy, squeezing the deficit within the three percent of GDP ceiling.
     
    Renzi has said that Italy should be allowed to break the borrowing limits in exchange for structural reforms to encourage economic growth, an approach which could cause conflict with EU partners including Germany.
     
    Financial markets, which nearly sent Italy crashing out of the euro zone little more than two years ago, have reacted favorably to Renzi’s expected nomination with 10 year bond yields falling to their lowest level in eight years on Monday.

    You May Like

    Syrian Torture Victim Recounts Horrors

    'You make them think you have surrendered' says Jalal Nofal, a doctor who was jailed and survived repeated interrogations in Syria

    Mandela’s Millions Paid to Heirs, But Who Gets His Country Home?

    Saga around $3 million estate of country's first democratic president is far from over as Winnie Mandela’s fight for home overshadows payouts

    Guess Which Beach is 'Best in the US'?

    Hawaii’s Hanauma Bay tops an annual "top 10" list compiled by a coastal scientist, also known as Doctor Beach

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trendi
    X
    May 27, 2016 5:57 AM
    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trend

    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Reactions to Trump's Success Polarized Abroad

    What seemed impossible less than a year ago is now almost a certainty. New York real estate mogul Donald Trump has won the number of delegates needed to secure the Republican presidential nomination. The prospect has sparked as much controversy abroad as it has in the United States. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Drawings by Children in Hiroshima Show Hope and Peace

    On Friday, President Barack Obama will visit Hiroshima, Japan, the first American president to do so while in office. In August 1945, the United States dropped an atomic bomb on the city to force Japan's surrender in World War II. Although their city lay in ruins, some Hiroshima schoolchildren drew pictures of hope and peace. The former students and their drawings are now part of a documentary called “Pictures from a Hiroshima Schoolyard.” VOA's Deborah Block has the story.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese Rapper Performs for Obama

    A prominent young Vietnamese artist told President Obama said she faced roadblocks as a woman rapper, and asked the president about government support for the arts. He asked her to rap, and he even offered to provide a base beat for her. Watch what happened.
    Video

    Video Roots Run Deep for Tunisia's Dwindling Jewish Community

    This week, hundreds of Jewish pilgrims are defying terrorist threats to celebrate an ancient religious festival on the Tunisian island of Djerba. The festivities cast a spotlight on North Africa's once-vibrant Jewish population that has all but died out in recent decades. Despite rising threats of militant Islam and the country's battered economy, one of the Arab world's last Jewish communities is staying put and nurturing a new generation. VOA’s Lisa Bryant reports.
    Video

    Video Meet Your New Co-Worker: The Robot

    Increasing numbers of robots are joining the workforce, as companies scale back and more processes become automated. The latest robots are flexible and collaborative, built to work alongside humans as opposed to replacing them. VOA’s Tina Trinh looks at the next generation of automated employees helping out their human colleagues.
    Video

    Video Wheelchair Technology in Tune With Times

    Technologies for the disabled, including wheelchair technology, are advancing just as quickly as everything else in the digital age. Two new advances in wheelchairs offer improved control and a more comfortable fit. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Baby Boxes Offer Safe Haven for Unwanted Children

    No one knows exactly how many babies are abandoned worldwide each year. The statistic is a difficult one to determine because it is illegal in most places. Therefore unwanted babies are often hidden and left to die. But as Erika Celeste reports from Woodburn, Indiana, a new program hopes to make surrendering infants safer for everyone.
    Video

    Video California Celebration Showcases Local Wines, Balloons

    Communities in the U.S. often hold festivals to show what makes them special. In California, for example, farmers near Fresno celebrate their figs and those around Gilmore showcase their garlic. Mike O'Sullivan reports that the wine-producing region of Temecula offers local vintages in an annual festival where rides on hot-air balloons add to the excitement.
    Video

    Video US Elementary School Offers Living Science Lessons

    Zero is not a good score on a test at school. But Discovery Elementary is proud of its “net zero” rating. Net zero describes a building in which the amount of energy provided by on-site renewable sources equals the amount of energy the building uses. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, the innovative features in the building turn the school into a teaching tool, where kids can't help but learn about science and sustainability. Faith Lapidus narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora