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Opinion
Ferdinando Giugliano

There's Only One Way to Fix Italy's Mess

The weak coalition is in no position to decide whether to appease Brussels or confront it. A new election should provide some much needed clarity. 

Europe's threat of a 3.5 billion euro sanction on Italy is chickenfeed next to the damage being wrought by its bickering populist leaders.

Europe's threat of a 3.5 billion euro sanction on Italy is chickenfeed next to the damage being wrought by its bickering populist leaders.

Photographer: PIERO CRUCIATTI/AFP

There’s one worrying aspect about the decision by Brussels to trigger a disciplinary process against Italy – and, no, it’s not the prospect of financial sanctions. It’s that the European Commission report, which states that Italy hasn’t made enough progress in cutting its debt, lands at a time of utter political chaos in Rome.

The ruling League and Five Star parties cannot make up their mind on whether their coalition government should survive, let alone what economic policy it should pursue. Prime minister Giuseppe Conte and the technocrat finance minister Giovanni Tria appear completely powerless. The country’s populist leaders must decide what they want to do – and quickly – before the situation drifts out of control.