Votes, agreements and disagreements

It may be “against” or for “fashion”, as Carlo Calenda writes in his letter to the Corriere on Friday, but the vote of Lombardy and Lazio voters has nevertheless confirmed its orientation “against” the centre-left and that the fashionable colour of the moment is still dark grey. The election result has made it clear, if ever there was a need, that the centre-left bloc needs to reflect on identity (and Calenda’s words against the voters certify this) and alliances: disunity has certainly not paid off. The centre-right, on the other hand, is managing to cover up more skilfully the divergences that undermine it internally. And certainly also thanks to the charismatic leadership and diplomatic action of its undisputed leader, Giorgia Meloni. The Premier, even under influence, is managing to hold the helm of a hectic majority that in a few weeks will be called to a very delicate game, that of State appointments. That will be the chessboard from which the strategic direction that Meloni is implementing to ensure stability and continuity to her executive will be understood.

The regional vote has highlighted the “growth crisis” of Fratelli d’Italia, which has in fact registered a wide consensus gap with its allies. A gap that Forza Italia, in particular, seems to experience with greater discomfort than Salvini’s Lega. And many have ascribed precisely to this uneasiness Silvio Berlusconi’s decision not to miss an opportunity to shift the center of gravity of the alliance onto himself, often with centrifugal emphases, such as the statements he made this week (“As premier I would never have gone to Zelensky”), later duly corrected. An externality that even triggered the retort of Mykhailo Podolyak, the Ukrainian president’s advisor: «Berlusconi is a VIP agitator» he said, «who acts within the framework of Russian propaganda and barters the Italian reputation with his friendship with Putin. His words are damaging for the whole of Italy (…) throw off the mask and say publicly that he is in favour of the genocide of the Ukrainian people». On the other hand, the position of the members of the executive, who tried to downplay the incident by inviting us to focus on the actions taken, was different. It was Defence Minister Guido Crosetto who threw water on the fire: «Our political line is clear, it does not seem to me that the actions voted by Parliament and by all the political forces deviate from Italy’s full support of Ukraine, NATO and the West». Affirmations, his, reinforced by the commitment with which he is trying to bring Italian military expenditure to 2% of GDP, as requested by NATO to all member States. Not an easy challenge, but a necessary one, for the fulfilment of which Crosetto himself has proposed to exclude Defence investments from the Stability Pact’s calculation, freeing them from other necessary expenditure items, such as health or education.

And if on the foreign policy front the situation seems to be back on track and, despite everything, seems to be proceeding in continuity with the past, on the domestic front in Thursday’s CdM the Meloni government sanctioned the first sign of clear discontinuity with the Draghi government on the subject of the NRRP. The approved decree laid the foundations for a control room under the direct and close control of the competent minister Raffaele Fitto to supervise the progress of the Plan. There will be a coordinator, four general directorates, fifty more officials than those currently located in the structures of the Council Presidency. And there will be more powers, with operational and political direction. Negotiations with the European Commission will also pass through the Presidency of the Council of Ministers, so there will be an opportunity to compare the objectives agreed in Brussels with the results achieved. The technical secretariat set up by Mario Draghi should therefore gradually break up. Starting with the technical figures that the former Prime Minister had placed “in the directorate”, namely Carmine Di Nuzzo, Chiara Goretti and Nicola Lupo. Their tasks and functions will be transferred to the mission structure. Will they be the first victims of the spoils system? We could probably find out in the next decree.