Italian debates, between reforms and migrants

There are those who have insinuated that the debate on institutional reform actually only wants to distract the spotlight from the Budget Law, one of the leanest in recent years and consequently politically vulnerable. But in reality the centre-right gives the impression of wanting to be serious, despite “Saturn against” (all the governments that have embarked on this reform path have literally “crashed” into it). But the premier wants to go ahead, the majority agreement on the formula of the so-called “premierato all’italiana” has been found. Now it will be necessary to follow the parliamentary procedure and possibly call a referendum. But what does the reform proposal envisage according to the outline summarised by the Minister for Reforms Elisabetta Alberti Casellati? Let us summarize. The reform is based on a compromise that has its pivotal point in preserving the role of the Head of State: the President of the Republic will continue to appoint Ministers although he will lose the power to appoint the Prime Minister, there will be no constructive no-confidence mechanism but only an automatic reappointment of the resigning prime minister or another parliamentarian from the same party. Ultimately, what changes is the consolidation of the majoritarian electoral system, the compulsory appointment of the leader of the winning coalition as Prime Minister by the Head of State, a mechanism that discourages government crises and “overturns”, i.e. changes of majority, through the introduction of a predetermined procedure. It is almost superfluous to add that if a majority splits due to party weakness or internal fractures, the mechanism of appointing the resigning Prime Minister or other personalities of the same line-up does not guarantee the survival of the executive or the majority itself. However, this was not the only topic of political discussion during the week. The agreement between Italy and Albania on the sorting of migrants was the other focus of the debate. With one difference: the first topic seemed to cement relations between the majority forces, the second divided them. Although order then returned, it is clear that internal inter-party communication did not shine in terms of enthusiasm. In any case, the news is that two centres will be set up in Albania, one in the port of Shengjin, the other in the Gjader area. The facilities will be under Italian and EU jurisdiction and will be staffed by personnel from Rome, dealing with entry, reception, and the management of asylum applications. Those who are not entitled will be turned away.

This too is a useful argument for the PD to close ranks and add content to its demonstration on Saturday, an initiative created to oppose all the government’s latest choices, starting with economic ones.

Who is working hard to credit Rome’s role is the President of the Republic Sergio Mattarella. In recent months he has been doing much to assist the government, especially to strengthen Italy’s position abroad. This week he travelled to South Korea and Uzbekistan, for two missions of high strategic value to strengthen Italy’s projection in Asia and cooperation with two countries in the area that are to be considered fundamental for various aspects, from trade to geopolitical assets.

Particularly in Seoul, Mattarella also listened to Korean concerns about China’s growing military activity in the South China Sea. Due consideration was certainly given to the fact, on the one hand, that Seoul will join the UN Security Council in 2024 as a non-permanent member, increasing its specific weight in the current complex geopolitical scenario, and on the other hand, that Rome will host next year’s G7 in Puglia, in which South Korea is expected to participate as a guest.