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

    Native Americans Ask: What About Our Water Supply?

    They say they have been facing a dangerous water contaminant for decades - uranium – but the problem has received far less attention than water contamination by lead in Flint, Michigan

    Pakistan's President Urges Nation Not to Celebrate Valentine's Day

    Mamnoon Hussain criticizes Valentine's Day, which falls on Sunday this year, as a Western import that threatens to undermine the Islamic values of Pakistan

    Mother of IS Supporter: Son Was Peaceful, 'Role Model'

    Somali-American Abdirizak Mohamed Warsame pleaded guilty Thursday to charges of conspiring to provide material support to Islamic State militants

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Two-thirds of World Faces Water Shortagei
    X
    February 12, 2016 7:31 PM
    Four billion people — or two out of every three on the planet — do not have enough water to meet their basic needs. That is far greater than previously thought, according to a new study that presents a more accurate picture of the problem. As VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports, the findings will help policymakers and the public craft solutions to address the threat.
    Video

    Video Two-thirds of World Faces Water Shortage

    Four billion people — or two out of every three on the planet — do not have enough water to meet their basic needs. That is far greater than previously thought, according to a new study that presents a more accurate picture of the problem. As VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports, the findings will help policymakers and the public craft solutions to address the threat.
    Video

    Video Gateway to Mecca: Historical Old Jeddah

    Local leader Sami Nawar's family has been in the Old City of Jeddah for hundreds of years and takes us on a tour of this ancient route to Mecca, also believed to be the final resting place of Adam's wife, Eve.
    Video

    Video New Technology Aims to Bring Election Transparency to Uganda

    A team of recent graduates from Uganda’s Makerere University has created a mobile application designed to help monitor elections and expose possible rigging. The developers say the app, called E-Poll, will make Uganda's democratic process fairer. From Kampala, VOA's Serginho Roosblad reports.
    Video

    Video As Refugees Perish, Greek Graveyards Fill

    Aid workers on the Greek island of Lesbos say they are struggling to bury the increasing number of bodies of refugees that have been recovered or washed up ashore in recent months.  The graveyards are all full, they say, yet as tens of thousands of people clamor to get out of Syria, it is clear refugees will still be coming in record numbers. For VOA, Hamada Elrasam reports from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video Russia Bristles at NATO Expansion in E. Europe

    Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov is meeting Friday with the head of NATO after the Western military alliance and the United States announced plans for the biggest military build-up in Europe since the Cold War. Russia has called NATO's moves a threat to stability in Europe. But NATO says the troop rotations and equipment are aimed at reassuring allies concerned about Russia as VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video To Fight Zika, Scientists Target Mosquitoes

    Mosquitoes strike again. The Zika virus outbreak is just the latest headline-grabbing epidemic carried by these biting pests, but researchers are fighting back with new ways to control them. VOA's Steve Baragona takes a look.
    Video

    Video Mosul Refugees Talk About Life Under IS

    A top U.S. intelligence official told Congress this week that a planned Iraqi-led operation to re-take the city of Mosul from Islamic State militants is unlikely to take place this year. IS took over the city in June 2014, and for the past year and a half, Mosul residents have been held captive under its rule. VOA's Zana Omar talked to some families who managed to escape. Bronwyn Benito narrates his report.
    Video

    Video Scientists Make Progress Toward Better Diabetes Treatment, Cure

    Scientists at two of the top U.S. universities say they have made significant advances in their quest to find a more efficient treatment for diabetes and eventually a cure. According to the International Diabetes Federation, the disease affects more than 370 million people worldwide. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video NATO to Target Migrant Smugglers

    NATO has announced plans to send warships to the Aegean Sea to target migrant smugglers in the alliance's most direct intervention so far since a wave of people began trying to reach European shores.
    Video

    Video Russia's Catholics, Orthodox Hopeful on Historic Pope-Patriarch Meeting

    Russia's Catholic minority has welcomed an historic first meeting Friday in Cuba between the Pope and the Patriarch of Russia's dominant Orthodox Church. The Orthodox Church split with Rome in 1054 and analysts say politics, both church and state, have been driving the relationship in the centuries since. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video Used Books Get a New Life on the Streets of Lagos

    Used booksellers are importing books from abroad and selling them on the streets of Africa's largest city. What‘s popular with readers may surprise you. Chris Stein reports from Lagos.
    Video

    Video After NH Primaries All Eyes on South Carolina

    After Tuesday's primary in New Hampshire, US presidential candidates swiftly turned to the next election coming up in South Carolina. The so-called “first-in-the-South” poll may help further narrow down the field of candidates. Zlatica Hoke reports.
    Video

    Video Smartphone Helps Grow Vegetables

    One day, you may be using your smartphone to grow your vegetables. A Taipei-based company has developed a farm cube — a small, enclosed ecosystem designed to grow plants indoors. The environment inside is automatically adjusted by the cube, but it can also be controlled through an app. VOA's Deborah Block has more on the gardening system.
    Video

    Video Exhibit Turns da Vinci’s Drawings Into Real Objects

    In addition to being a successful artist, Renaissance genius Leonardo da Vinci designed many practical machines, some of which are still in use today, although in different forms. But a number of his projects were never realized — until today. VOA’s George Putic reports.