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MNI:Italy Coalition In Fight To Control Economy Policy-Sources


A silent struggle for control of the Italian government’s economic policy is going on between Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni’s right-wing Brothers of Italy and their junior coalition partners from the League, with League officials leveraging their greater experience after foiling an earlier attempt to split the finance ministry, senior officials from all three main coalition parties told MNI.

While Brothers of Italy and the more openly eurosceptic League, which used to campaign for northern Italian secession, differ little in their economic views, control of government spending is key for parties seeking to promote their own regional support bases. The League, which lost its position as the lead party of the Italian right in last year’s elections, is also more used to dealing with European institutions and has benefitted in this internal struggle from its experience of previous coalition governments.

One major battle has already been won by Finance Minister Giancarlo, a League member, over the future of the finance ministry itself.


After some months of clashing with his deputy minister, Brothers of Italy’s Maurizio Leo, over Meloni’s plans to split the ministry in two and to separate finances from macroeconomic management, Giorgetti has now appointed tax expert Enrico Zanetti as an advisor in a move which League officials said was aimed at containing Leo as the portfolio’s focus turns to attempts to reform the tax system. Zanetti, an independent is also a former deputy minister himself.

“Despite our poor electoral results, our experience is granting us influence within the executive,” a source close to Giorgetti told MNI, adding that some officials appointed by Brothers of Italy have under-performed.

News on Thursday of the appointment of veteran civil servant Riccardo Barbieri as director general of the Treasury came after Giorgetti refused to accept Meloni’s attempt to bring in an official from outside in the department to replace outgoing head Alessandro Rivera, sources from both parties told MNI.

The finance minister’s team is also briefing against Defence Minister Guido Crossetto, who has repeatedly criticised the European Central Bank for having “too much power” and raising rates too quickly. Such comments by Crossetto will only increase market scrutiny of Italy’s debt and financial positions, the source close to Giorgetti said.

“In what serious country does the defence minister talk about the economy?” the source added.

Inside Brothers of Italy, officials admitted that the defence minister was under attack, but told MNI that it was part of a League strategy to undermine the power of Meloni and her party within the coalition.

Brothers of Italy points to victories of its own, particularly as the government moves towards passing a decree which will increase the power of European Affairs Minister Raffaele Fitto, who has special responsibility for Recovery Plan spending funded by EUR200 billion in European Union money.

Despite their differences, the coalition’s two biggest parties are still able to cooperate on matters of obvious national interest, as when both Meloni and Giorgetti met the head of the European Stability Mechanism Pierre Gramegna in Rome last week as part of a deal to unblock Italian ratification of changes to the ESM treaty. (MNI: Italy Prepared To End ESM Treaty Stalemate-Officials)

The coalition’s third significant partner, Silvio Berlusconi’s Forza Italia, is largely absent from these struggles, having failed to obtain the government posts necessary to fight them in the first place.

“We had almost the same votes as the League and much fewer posts,”said a senior official from Berlusconi’s grouping.

MNI Rome Bureau | +34-672-478-840 |
MNI Rome Bureau | +34-672-478-840 |

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