Daring to Defy the ‘Top Dog’: Italy’s ‘Techno-Populists’ Push Back Against Brussels

Written by | Monday, March 18th, 2019

The struggle of the Italian government with the financial bureaucrats is an exceptional occurrence. It is a rare occurrence in the Western democracies that the elected government is going to fight with unelected bankers, as it rarely has enough energy and will to do so. In the case of Italy, it is all the more difficult because it does not only fight with its mafias, but is also under fire from Brussels. And as Italy still continues its fight with Brussels, the Italian government has decided that it won’t let Brussels to interfere with the economic and financial problems in the country.

The management of the central bank, Banca d’Italia and the Consob stock exchange, is to be “completely cleaned,” Lego Deputy Prime Minister Matteo Salvini said. He strongly agreed with his coalition partner Luigi di Maio, the leader of the Five Star Party. Both intend to enforce Italian interests even if they conflict with the EU Commission. The board of directors of the Central Bank of Italy has five members and three of them are to be replaced in the upcoming months, meaning that now there will be people in place to set a new course. As for Consob’s rate control, Salvini also said that “we govern because the responsible authorities did not exercise their control function. The boards of directors of Consob and Banca d’Italia need to be completely dismissed.”

Brussels is trying to limit the possibilities of the Italian government at every step. Every bad move is followed by a letter coming from Brussels, which serves as a reminder about who’s still the top dog. But as Di Maio has stressed that “we do not care. Three, four months from now and this Europe will no longer exist and these letters will cease to be”. Years ago, these letters would scare any of the European governments, but today the situation is very different. Now, the house of cards is falling apart and Brussels no longer has the authority it once had. This not only fuels the rebellious nature of certain European governments, but also gives the Italians hope to resist and defy the top dog.

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