Italy: Mario Draghi to offer resignation
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Residents in Naples, southern Italy, spoke loud and clear to Express.co.uk, objecting to EU’s demands for yet more sacrifices after years of unsolved political crises. Mario Draghi’s government collapsed last week, opening the way for snap elections on September 25, with polls suggesting a rightist alliance, with Matteo Salvini, Giorgia Meloni and Silvio Berlusconi, is well placed to win the ballot.
The Prime Minister’s oven ready Brexit deal has broken the union of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and undermined the Belfast (Good Friday) Agreement. This is not just my view, it was backed up by the Court of Appeal in Northern Ireland earlier this week when they delivered their judgment of the Northern Ireland Protocol.
I said it in 2019 and I say it again: Mr Johnson’s deal is worse than remaining in the EU.
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Mr Draghi tendered his resignation for the second time after the populist 5-Star Movement refused to back his broad coalition in a parliamentary confidence vote.
Speaking to this website, disenchanted Italian voters say they have little hope things will change for the better with a new government, regardless of who will manage to win most votes.
Asked whether they think Britons’ decision to leave the EU could be a solution for Italy too, some said they wished Rome never signed up to the Brussels’ alliance.
Giancarlo, 66, self-employed said:”The UK outside of the EU got it a thousand times better than Italy inside the bloc.
“We have never ending problems, our governments don’t know how to solve them and Europe doesn’t help.”
Italy news: Italians are heading to the polls in September (Image: GETTY•EXPRESS)
Italy election: Matteo Salvini and Giorgia Meloni are in a pre-election coalition (Image: GETTY)
Asked if he’s hopeful a new government will change things after the September elections, he said: “I’m sure we won’t go too far regardless.”
He added: “What Draghi did in the past two years has made a difference, but we can always do better.”
Giuseppe, 19, a student, also said: “It would have been better if Draghi stayed, his departure means the government has failed.
“They haven’t been able to keep the promises they made, it’s never a good sign when a government falls.
“Draghi wasn’t too bad but the fact he was there was the result of a failure anyway.”
Asked whether the UK got a better deal leaving the EU, the first-time voter said: “Before Covid I would have answered in favour of Brexit. Now, with the funds Italy has received from Brussels I’m glad we are still in.
“But I’d like to see us out of the EU in the near future.
“The EU has imposed some very rigid policies on Italy in favour of other EU states.”
Gennaro, his friend, also 19 and a student, said he agreed with the idea of a referendum on Italy’s membership of the EU.
Antonio Esposito, 77, pensioner, went even further.
He said: “I’m fed up with politicians from all sides of the spectrum.
“On the right, Berlusconi has been in and out of courts over serious indictments and he’s still there today to dictate who will be in charge of the country.
“On the left…there’s no left.
“No one cares about us, about the people.”
Asked whether he would favour a referendum on the EU, he added: “I wish we never got in in the first place.
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Italy election news: Rita and Antonio say they are ‘fed up’ with politicians (Image: EXPRESS)
“I don’t think it would make a difference if we got out now, it’s probably too late.
“Kudos to the UK for making that brave choice, I wish them the best.”
On Tuesday, EU countries approved a weakened emergency plan to curb gas demand, asking member states to reduce their energy consumption by 15 percent between August and March.
Asked whether they approve the plan, first proposed by EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, Antonio’s wife, Rita, a 69-years-old pensioner, said: “Once again we are the ones who are asked to make the sacrifice.
“Between the two of us, we get a €1200 pension per month. I’ve been switching off the lights at night and put an extra jumper on in the winter to pay less for energy for years already.
“What more are we supposed to do? Live by candle-light?”
But Francesca Mancino, 42, hairdresser, spoke in favour of the EU.
She told this website: “I think that Europe and Italy, in this moment of global difficulty must show themselves as united and compact as ever.
Italy election news: Giuseppe and Gennaro will vote for the first time (Image: EXPRESS)
“The reduction in energy consumption affects everyone, especially those who support themselves through commercial activities like mine, therefore taking a personal risk.
“But today, the vision of an Italy far from Europe, like the United Kingdom, is unthinkable.”
Italy has been striking a series of deals to reduce its reliance on Russian gas and Algeria is now its leading source of imports.
In an effort to increase gas savings, the government said it would aim to reduce heating by 1 degree Celsius in public and private residential buildings in the second half of 2022, while cutting heating duration by 1 hour a day.
The government said it plans to lower national gas consumption by 2.6 billion cubic metres in 2022, with this amount seen rising to almost 11 by 2025.
Russia delivered less gas to Europe on Wednesday in a further escalation of an energy stand-off between Moscow and the European Union that will make it harder, and costlier, for the bloc to fill up storage ahead of the winter.
Germany, Europe’s top economy and its largest importer of Russian gas, has been particularly hit by supply cuts.
Asked about possible efforts to safeguard gas for Germany, Italian Ecological Transition Minister Roberto Cingolani said that would require broad cooperation from European partners.