ITALY’S coalition government could collapse under the pressure of growing rows over the PM’s handling of the pandemic and the allocation of a massive EU recovery fund.
Former Prime Minister Matteo Renzi, whose small Italia Viva (IV) party props up the country’s coalition government, has accused the country’s current leader Giuseppe Conte of mishandling the pandemic response. Over 80,000 Italians have died since Covid struck the country, and Rome recently decided to extend the national state of emergency due to the third wave of the virus.
At the heart of recent political turmoil is the debate over how to spend the EU’s colossal 220 billion euro fund allocated to Italy, which was in financial disarray and massive debt before the crisis hit. Renzi has argued for less “hand-outs” and more investment in long-running issues such as youth employment, which in Italy has some of the highest levels in Europe.
President Sergio Mattarella has urged political leaders to agree to the deal in order to speed up Italy’s much-needed recovery efforts, though a number of Renzi’s cabinet ministers have threatened to resign unless the spending plan is radically altered.
If the Italia Viva party withdraws its support for Conte’s leadership, it is likely that Italy will see its government collapse – not for the first time in the famously politically turbulent country.
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