The “Next Generation Plan” – a plan for the next generation. The largest transfer campaign in the history of the European Union bears a name according to the highest standards.
Italy is expected to receive around 200 billion euros from the European Union over the next five years. Brussels wants to help Italy get out of the Corona crisis as quickly as possible.
It would actually be well matched with such high level and very high amount; It will be discussed widely and at the highest level – in Parliament. This, as in all parliamentary democracies, has budgetary supremacy. A controversial, constructive, creative and in any event a detailed discussion would be desirable.
In Italy, however, the opposite is true. The proposal was in the House of Representatives yesterday. Actually work comes to the little chamber, the Senate, in a fast-paced process. This relates to the fact that the former government of Giuseppe Conte has slowed down for a long time.
This is why his successor, Mario Draghi, has so little time. This is why Parliament can now only do two things: Either agree to everything, almost unchanged, or ignore everything completely. And because no one wants to be held responsible for the fact that the EU’s many billions are flowing into the country late or not at all, the parliament is likely to wave everything.
Yesterday Prime Minister Mario Draghi tried to say that Italy’s fate was at stake and that this was the country’s last chance to stamp out any criticism in its infancy.
Ruled with a hammer
But when it comes to such sums of money, the bulk of which must be paid by future generations, parliament must have a decisive say. Being able to change a comma or semicolon anywhere in a 300-page template isn’t enough.
The fact that Parliament is dismissed often occurs in Italy. Italy’s prime ministers like to rule by decrees rather than laws, that is, by decisions that go into effect immediately and can only be approved by Parliament after that, and not just since the pandemic.
Or the government breaks down laws by voting of confidence through parliament. Deputies no longer vote on the actual law, but on the continued existence of the government. This is the real hammer the government is using to prevent any parliamentary debate.
Sure: political debates in Italy are often stressful, excessive, and even chaotic. But every government should expect this.
The fate of the next generation – the “Next Generation Plan” – is up to parliament in detail. Especially when Italy’s fate depends on it, says Mario Draghi.
Italy SRF correspondent
Franco Patel has been working as a correspondent for SRF Radio in Rome since 2015. Prior to that, he was responsible for Italy, Mexico, Central America, Cuba and Liechtenstein as external editor. It also operates at the United Nations headquarters in Geneva.