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.
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

Video Americans, Tourists, Reflect on Meaning of Thanksgiving

VOA garnered opinions from several people soon after November 13 Paris attacks, which colored many of their thoughts

Video Thais Send Security Concerns Down the River

In northern Thailand, the annual tradition of constructing floating baskets to carry away the year’s bad spirits highlights the Loy Krathong festival

Video Tree Houses - A Branch of American Dream

Workshops aimed at teaching people how to build tree houses have become widely popular in America in recent years

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Belgium-Germany Border Remains Porous, Even As Manhunt For Paris Attacker Continuesi
Ayesha Tanzeem
November 25, 2015 10:46 PM
One of the suspected gunmen in the Nov. 13 Paris attacks, Salah Abdeslam, evaded law enforcement, made his way to Belgium, and is now believed to have fled to Germany. VOA correspondent Ayesha Tanzeem makes the journey across the border from Belgium into Germany to see how porous the borders really are.

Video Belgium-Germany Border Remains Porous, Even As Manhunt For Paris Attacker Continues

One of the suspected gunmen in the Nov. 13 Paris attacks, Salah Abdeslam, evaded law enforcement, made his way to Belgium, and is now believed to have fled to Germany. VOA correspondent Ayesha Tanzeem makes the journey across the border from Belgium into Germany to see how porous the borders really are.

Video Islamic State Unfazed by Losses in Iraq, Syria

Progress in the U.S.-led effort to beat Islamic State on its home turf in Iraq and Syria has led some to speculate the terror group may be growing desperate. But counterterror officials say that is not the case, and warn the recent spate of terror attacks is merely part of the group’s evolution. VOA National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more.

Video Taiwan Looks for Role in South China Sea Dispute

The Taiwanese government is one of several that claims territory in the hotly contested South China Sea, but Taipei has long been sidelined in the dispute, overshadowed by China. Now, as the Philippines challenges Beijing’s claims in an international court at The Hague, Taipei is looking to publicly assert its claims. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.

Video Syrian Refugees in US Express Concern for Those Left Behind

Syrian immigrants in the United States are concerned about the negative tide of public opinion and the politicians who want to block a U.S. plan to accept 10,000 Syrian refugees. Zlatica Hoke reports many Americans are fighting to dispel suspicions linking refugees to terrorists.

Video After Paris Attacks, France Steps Up Fight Against IS

The November 13 Paris attacks have drawn increased attention to Syria, where many of the suspected perpetrators are said to have received training. French President Francois Hollande is working to build a broad international coalition to defeat Islamic State in Syria and in Iraq. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video US, Cambodian Navies Pair Up in Gulf of Thailand

The U.S. Navy has deployed one of its newest and most advanced ships to Cambodia to conduct joint training drills in the Gulf of Thailand. Riding hull-to-hull with Cambodian ships, the seamen of the USS Fort Worth are executing joint-training drills that will help build relations in Southeast Asia. David Boyle reports for VOA from Preah Sihanouk province.

Video Americans Sharpen Focus on Terrorism

Washington will be quieter than usual this week due to the Thanksgiving holiday, even as Americans across the nation register heightened concerns over possible terrorist threats. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports new polling data from ABC News and the Washington Post newspaper show an electorate increasingly focused on security issues after the deadly Islamic State attacks in Paris.

Video World Leaders Head to Paris for Climate Deal

Heads of state from nearly 80 countries are heading to Paris (November 30-December 11) to craft a global climate change agreement. The new accord will replace the Kyoto Protocol on Climate Change that expired in 2012.

Video Uncertain Future for Syrian Refugee Resettlement in Illinois

For the trickle of Syrian refugees finding new homes in the Midwest city of Chicago, the call to end resettlement in many U.S. states is adding another dimension to their long journey fleeing war. Organizations working to help them integrate say the backlash since the Paris attacks is both harming and helping their efforts to provide refugees sanctuary. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.

Video Creating Physical Virtual Reality With Tiny Drones

As many computer gamers know, virtual reality is a three-dimensional picture, projected inside special googles. It can fool your brain into thinking the computer world is the real world. But If you try to touch it, it’s not there. Now Canadian researchers say it may be possible to create a physical virtual reality using tiny drones. VOA’s George Putic reports.

Video New American Indian Village Takes Visitors Back in Time

There is precious little opportunity to experience what life was like in the United States before its colonization by European settlers. Now, an American Indian village built in a park outside Washington is taking visitors back in time to experience the way of life of America's indigenous people. Carol Pearson narrates this report from VOA's June Soh.

Video Even With Hometown Liberated, Yazidi Refugees Fear Return

While the northern Iraqi town of Sinjar has been liberated from Islamic State forces, it's not clear whether Yazidi residents who fled the militants will now return home. VOA’s Mahmut Bozarslan talked with Yazidis, a religious and ethnic minority, at a Turkish refugee camp in Diyarbakır. Robert Raffaele narrates his report.

Video Nairobi Tailors Make Pope Francis’ Vestments

To ensure the pope is properly attired during his visit, the Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops asked the Dolly Craft Sewing Project in the Nairobi slum of Kangemi to make the pope's vestments, the garments he will wear during the various ceremonies. Jill Craig reports.

Video Cross-Border Terrorism Puts Europe’s Passport-Free Travel in Doubt

The fallout from the Islamic State terror attacks in Paris has put the future of Europe’s passport-free travel area, known as the "Schengen Zone," in doubt. Several of the perpetrators were known to intelligence agencies, but were not intercepted. Henry Ridgwell reports from London European ministers are to hold an emergency meeting Friday in Brussels to look at ways of improving security.

Video El Niño Brings Unexpected Fish From Mexico to California

Fish in an unexpected spectrum of sizes, shapes and colors are moving north, through El Niño's warm currents from Mexican waters to the Pacific Ocean off California’s coast. El Nino is the periodic warming of the eastern and central Pacific Ocean. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, this phenomenon thrills scientists and gives anglers the chance of a once-in-a-lifetime big catch. Faith Lapidus narrates.

Video Terrorism in Many Forms Continues to Plague Africa

While the world's attention is on Paris in the wake of Friday night's deadly attacks, terrorism from various sides remains a looming threat in many African countries. Nigerian cities have been targeted this week by attacks many believe were staged by the violent Islamist group Boko Haram. In addition, residents in many regions are forced to flee their homes as they are terrorized by armed militias. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video Study: Underage Marriage Rate Higher for Females in Pakistan

While attitudes about the societal role of females in Pakistan are evolving, research by child advocacy group Plan International suggests that underage marriage of girls remains a particularly big issue in the country. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports how such marriages leads to further social problems.

VOA Blogs