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Italy: real and lasting change is possible

 

Today the “first comer-but not winner” of the Italian elections, Pier Luigi Bersani will meet the Head of State, Giorgio Napolitano, to receive a full or explorative mandate to create a new government. Bersani’s “mission-almost-impossible” will be to ensure a majority (that can survive a confidence vote) in the Senate (he already has a majority in the Lower House). The options do not seem promising. 

Berlusconi’s PDL has appealed Bersani to go for a “grand coalition” capable of implementing measures considered urgent for the country. However the Democratic Party has repeatedly rejected the offer: its leftish anti-Berlusconi basis would never understand what Italians call the “inciucio” (although it would be interesting to see if it refused working with the PDL as a whole, or just Berlusconi). Without PDL support, Bersani’s option would be Monti, but this is incompatible with

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Rome view: a different Europe?

Despite widespread concern about Italy’s political uncertainty and its way to get out of the gridlock, what emerges from the latest Eurobarometer is that Italians seem to want more Europe. Although confidence in the EU has fallen in most of the polled countries (see this blog post by my colleague José Ignacio Torreblanca), when asked about leaving the Union and the single currency, the answer was mostly “no”. Only one percent of the 10,321 Italians interviewed expect the country to leave the EU, and the euro is considered (although only by 31 percent) the second biggest achievement of the Union after the free movement of people, goods and services. 

Solving the euro crisis continues to be an important issue for many. 59 percent of Italian respondents expect the EU to be involved in finding a solution (ten points above the average, although four below the results of the previous

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Italy’s message for Europe

The significance of Italy’s election result should not be underestimated.  But Italy’s election outcome is far more positive than many realise. The outcome of the Italian elections caused quite a bit of confusion and sometimes rather hysterical reactions from the markets (which is perhaps understandable) and from European partners (which is much less understandable!). As Europe’s third largest economy Italy’s political instability is a European concern. As we all know, Italy is too big to fail - and even if we imagine for one second that such a remote scenario is likely, it should be clear that the effects of such a collapse would hurt almost all Member States and would certainly be a huge disaster for Europe as a whole.

In April Giorgio Napolitano’s term as president of Italy will come to an end. To conclude his seven year mandate his last state visit brought him to Germany. It

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A quick guide to Spain’s political crisis

As if its continuing economic problems were not enough for Spain to deal with, the country has now been enveloped in a political crisis. Here is a quick guide to the implications of the crisis in a Question/Answer format, with a few useful links for those wanting a bit more detail or background and a few extra quotes from articles by both Reuters and the Financial Times...

Background:

http://elpais.com/elpais/inenglish.html

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-21326937

http://www.economist.com/blogs/charlemagne/2013/02/spanish-politics?fsrc=nl

http://www.ft.com/intl/cms/s/0/7c7c599a-6fb0-11e2-956b-00144feab49a.html#axzz2K8GulIRg

The implications of the crisis:

Q: What could this latest scandal mean for general market and foreign investor confidence, bearing in mind that Spain is one of the most troubled eurozone nations?

A: The scandal will negatively affect the

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Video: the Scorecard’s assessment of foreign policy

We've just published the third edition of ECFR's European Foreign Policy Scorecard. For those of you who prefer to consume your news in video form, have a watch of this:

 

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