Slalom between G7, NATO and 5Star tired Draghi

Italy’s political week has been agitated and turbulent, between Rome, Elmau and Madrid, and it has put Prime Minister Mario Draghi’s ability to mediate on the domestic and external fronts to the test. In Bavaria, where the G7 meeting was held, all the most influential issues of the moment were discussed, from the Russian invasion of Ukraine, to recession fears, to the food and energy crisis. Italy continues to press for a price cap on Russian energy, a hypothesis toward which the G7 Countries seem to be opening up with more conviction. In statements on the sidelines of the summit, Draghi went on to warn: «We must avoid the mistakes made after 2008: the energy crisis must not produce a return of populism», introducing a topic that will most likely be increasingly central to the public political debate, especially in view of the upcoming general elections in Italy but also the midterms in the United States. The G7 was also useful in remarking on the concept of solidarity with Kiev, declined at the diplomatic, military, humanitarian and financial levels, also inviting China to intervene as a mediator in the Russian-Ukrainian conflict.

The China issue was also central to the next international meeting, the NATO meeting in Madrid. Indeed, among the topics of the summit, in addition to the launch of an additional aid package toward Kiev and the strengthening of NATO’s deterrence and defense capability, an important element of discussion was the alliance’s posture toward Chinese expansionism. A point particularly dear to the United States, which considers China’s to be the real challenge of the 21st century. Nevertheless, standing out as «the most significant and direct threat» to the allies’ security is Russia, which perhaps most of all prompted the alliance to announce its new Strategic Concept today. The document, by which NATO has redefined its priorities, boundaries and strategy, provides a collective assessment of the security environment, guiding the alliance’s future political and military development toward a strengthened deterrence and defense capability. In fact, the document calls for an increase in troops and facilities in Europe, where total rapid response forces on the continent will increase from 40,000 to 300,000 troops, directly involving Italy, Germany and Spain as well. Thirty states have thus launched the largest military reorganization on European soil in decades, defining the meaning of the alliance in light of new geopolitical developments and creating a “new” NATO. Also formally announced in Madrid was the process of Sweden and Finland joining the alliance, made possible by the lifting of Turkey’s earlier veto.

Draghi, however, was forced to leave the summit a day early and return to Rome to preside over a strategic Council of Ministers on bills and budget adjustment (functional for the NRRP) but above all to calm the majority’s fibrillation. A fibrillation fueled by sociologist Domenico De Masi’s shock revelations that Draghi pressured Grillo to replace Conte at the helm of the Movement as “inadequate”. From here to imagining that Draghi himself was behind Di Maio’s split was a moment, but the earthquake of strong reactions and heated protests did not provide any shocks to the hold of the government and the majority that supports it. Not even the clash between the Lega and the PD over Ius scholae and a partial legalization of cannabis caused particular concern. In the press conference following the Council of Ministers, at the close of a frenetic week, Draghi shrugged off the controversy and calmed the environment: peace made with Conte («There is no government without the 5Stelle») and the government held up by the conditio sine qua non of the beginning of the legislature («This government can only exist with the majority that expressed it at the beginning of this experience»). Draghi recalled, «We have many challenges ahead of us that we will overcome if we have the same determination as we have in recent months». Crisis returned, for the moment, and Council successfully closed. And after all the tumult of the international week one can almost believe Draghi when, explaining to reporters the photo at the Prado, seated and aloof, he replied: «I was tired».