The manoeuvres of the Budget Law

“For now, neither fish nor fowl”. This is how Matteo Renzi described the Budget Law in an interview with La Stampa. And it is difficult not to agree with him, because it is still too early. The hashtag #ldb has dominated the political debate this week and, after all, it could not be otherwise, since the entire country is waiting for an answer to the energy and inflation crisis that is horizontally affecting the entire Italian economy. And the answer, for now, has arrived. But the parliamentary process will begin next week and, as usual, will shape the law far and wide, defining its interventions in detail: it is therefore premature to give an economic-financial judgement. What can certainly be inferred, however, is the political approach, decidedly coherent with what had been the declared intentions of the center-right: families and businesses at the center, tax relief, a focus on VAT and the citizenship income, about to be modified, albeit gradually. A total intervention of 35 billion euro, a “courageous” sum for such a delicate period as the current one, so much so that in Brussels, where the budget program was sent yesterday for evaluation as required by procedure, they are worried about the sustainability of the debt. The government has not responded, but will certainly heed the warning, as it has always been very attentive to the judgements of Brussels and the main European chancelleries until now.

Thus begins a race against time. The bill should reach the Chamber of Deputies next Monday, starting the Parliamentary session on the manoeuvre: the illustration of the measure with the presentation of amendments by the Parliamentary groups should be concluded by Friday 2 December. From 5 to 7 December, the Budget Committee will be busy admitting and signaling the proposed amendments: there will be a small treasury to Parliament and then it will also be decided how much to allocate to the oppositions. The reported amendments will be one per Parliamentarian (so there will be a total of 400) and divided on the basis of the number of group members. From 12 to 16 December it will be in the heart of the matter, with the examination in Committee. From 19 to 21 December, the text is expected to be approved at first reading in the Chamber of Deputies, while by 23 December, before Christmas, the agendas will be voted on and sent to the Senate, where the “flash” examination must be concluded by 31 December, under penalty of the provisional exercise.

Economy Minister Giancarlo Giorgetti has already achieved a result by setting the total cost of what he considers the so-called “flags” of the parties at EUR 1 billion. The rest has to be done. But the debate promises to be tough and fiery, as it has not been for a long time. And this is the other political fact linked to this 2022 budget session: the manoeuvres of the oppositions, inexorably centrifugal. The Movimento 5 Stelle has already announced its street mobilisation in defence of the citizenship income, but the Partito Democratico has chosen to concentrate its protests and content in another demonstration, the date of which has already been announced for 17 December. While the Terzo Polo, on the contrary, will not make a protest in the square but it will go to Palazzo Chigi, for a meeting with Meloni in the coming days. The main center coalition has chosen the path of dialogue, while remaining in opposition, but has already winked at the majority on several occasions, most recently with its promise of support for the Nordio justice reform. And there are already those who speak of a possible “pact in Via della Scrofa”, an alliance of Fratelli d’Italia with Renzi and Calenda to avert the risks of internal instability due to the reluctance of the allies, especially that of the Lega. A Lega in which, among other things, the internal confrontation between the two main factions, that of Salvini and that of the Giorgetti-Zaia-Fedriga axis, has intensified. The dense dialogue between the political forces in the coming weeks, in search of the alchemy to make the economic and political accounts of the Budget Law turn around, will certainly bring out new political balances, in the majority and in the opposition. 31 December will deliver to Italy not only a manoeuvre, but also the result of the manoeuvres that the parties, slowly and quietly, have been calibrating in recent weeks.