The voice of Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi is not only being heard loud and clear in Paris and Berlin, but it is also setting the agenda as the EU tried to emerge from the coronavirus pandemic. Jana Puglierin, senior policy fellow at the European Council on Foreign Relations told the Financial Times: “Italy was always seen as the EU’s juvenile delinquent, and now it’s the model European." On Monday, Mr Draghi, the former President of the European Central Bank (ECB), will present Italy’s plans to spend €190billion (£165bn) of EU loans and grants alongside a set of structural reforms seen as critical to the entire credibility of Europe’s post-Covid recovery effort.
Mr Draghi has also announced Italy will run its largest budget deficit since the early Nineties, and has decided to increase borrowing ahead of a call from the IMF for all EU countries to do the same.
Financial markets, often worried about the size of Italy’s public debt, for now remain unconcerned — a sign of confidence in the new Prime Minister.
Moreover, previously thorny relations between Rome and Paris have suddenly blossomed, according to diplomats from both countries.
Mr Draghi holds regular calls with Mr Macron, including one last week, to discuss the pandemic and other strategic issues.Insurance Loans Mortgage Attorney Credit Lawyer
However, Thomas Fazi, journalist and author, has recently argued that Mr Draghi is actually the "last thing Italy needs" and that he is on track to becoming "Macron 2.0."
Mr Fazi believes that the notion that Italy’s problems fundamentally lay in its lack of liberalising reforms and that by embarking on said reforms the country can finally put itself on a path of growth once again is an old trope.
Mario Draghi on track to becoming Macron 2.0: 'Last thing Italy needs!' (Image: GETTY)
Unfortunately, he argued, it is completely unsupported by the data.
He wrote: "Indeed, since the early Nineties, as this recent study documents, Italy has introduced a huge number of liberalising reforms ranging from corporate governance reforms aimed at making corporate control more contestable, to privatisation of the main state-owned banks and enterprises, as well as reforms enhancing labour market flexibility and increasing product-market competition.
"Indeed, the data 'shows that Italy introduced liberalizing reforms more intensely than most other countries, especially from 1992 on, more than Germany and, especially, France'.
"Just over the past decade, Italy’s 'ease of doing business' ranking, according to the World Bank, has jumped from the 78th to the 58th position, a 20-point improvement, with no noticeable impact on growth.
"Indeed, if anything, the introduction of these reforms has coincided with the beginning of the stagnation of the Italy’s economy."
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Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi (Image: GETTY)Insurance Loans Mortgage Attorney Credit Lawyer
French President Emmanuel Macron (Image: