Italy stunned by the departure of Mario Draghi

When, called for help by the President of the Republic, “Super Mario” was chosen in February 2021 to straighten out his country, he had made a promise: that of a “New Reconstruction”, in allusion to the post-war period. “This is our mission as Italians: to leave a better and fairer country for our children and grandchildren,” the prime minister told his grieving compatriots – more than 100,000 Italians had been killed by the coronavirus and the Peninsula had just recorded one of the worst falls in GDP in the euro zone (-8.9%).

Less than a year and a half and a war in Ukraine later, the political crisis initiated by the 5 Star Movement, which forced it to throw in the towel, has been called a “totally irresponsible” act by the president of Confindustria, representing businesses. Two-thirds of Italians would have liked him to stay on, according to a Euromedia poll published on Tuesday by the daily La Stampa.

An unprecedented ECB rate hike since 2011

The context is gloomy for the third economy of the euro zone: despite the 31 billion euros released by Mario Draghi between April and May, Italy faces an acceleration of historic inflation – 8% in June, the highest percentage since the oil counter-shock of 1986. The European Central Bank announced Thursday an unprecedented rate hike since 2011, while providing a new instrument to protect the most fragile states against speculative attacks on their debt for fear of a crisis like that of 2012. measure for Italy, perceived as the current weak link in the zone.

A sign of investors’ nervousness at the announcement of Draghi’s departure, the spread – i.e. the ten-year gap between the yields of Italian securities (Btp) and German Bunds – reached its highest level on Thursday since the spring of 2020. Above all, the resignation of this man perceived as the guarantor of Italian credibility could call into question the granting of the next tranche of EU funds as part of the recovery plan. Political instability does not lend itself well to the structural and fiscal reforms that Rome was to complete in the coming months, and to the management of conflicts with European institutions.

Mario Draghi is also leaving when he has just concluded a gas maxi-contract in Algiers to prevent Italy, which is particularly dependent on Russian supplies, from rationing next winter. There is no doubt that the prospect of elections in the fall is throwing into disarray this “better and fairer” country that he hoped to build, and who today seems impossible to govern.

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