Italy – the Art of Twisting Part III

By | October 22, 2021

In the 1994 parliamentary elections, Forza Italia went to the polls on a promise to change Italy. The charismatic Berlusconi promised tax cuts, the fight against bureaucracy and the abuse of power, and he claimed that his own success would become a model for the whole of Italy. And Italian voters were convinced. Berlusconi became Italy’s new prime minister, and not only that: he was to be the longest-serving prime minister in the country since World War II.

7: Two lost decades

Silvio Berlusconi was forced to step down as prime minister in 2011, after three terms and a total of more than nine years as prime minister. His time in power was marked by a continuous conflict with the judiciary, by scandalous women’s stories and by a series of embarrassing public statements. But what struck him in the first place was that he did not keep his promises to improve Italy.

The Berlusconi era is described by many as two lost decades for Italy . It is true that many changes were made, for example in the judiciary, but they primarily served Berlusconi himself. The clean hands process came to a complete standstill, and instead the laws were changed so that it became more difficult to get someone convicted. The penalties were milder and the limitation periods were shorter. “Silvio Berlusconi promised to turn the ship around Italy.” writes a commentator. “But he was only concerned with refurbishing his own cabin, and did not notice that the ship ran aground.”

The “father” of the Rene Hender process, Antonio di Pietro, believes that it was a political failure to fill the void left by the first republic with something other than Berlusconi. He describes the culture of corruption in Italy as follows: “Corruption is a problem in many places. But when other countries find a tumor called corruption, they try to remove it. In Italy, they are trying to remove the doctor. ”

8: Renzi – the young hope

According to HOLIDAYSORT.COM, Italy has experienced many humiliations in the last decade. A European superpower and one of the world’s foremost cultural nations has been reduced to an economic B-nation . After the financial crisis in 2008, the country ended up in a group of EU countries that were given the unflattering name PIIGS – Portugal, Italy, Ireland, Greece (Greece) and Spain. The sky-high Italian government debt (133 percent of GDP) was close to throwing the country into government bankruptcy – something that threatened the entire eurozone.

And Italy is still struggling with the aftermath of the crisis. Government debt is far too high, some of the largest banks are struggling to survive and there is no economic recovery. In this situation, the young and talented politician Matteo Renzi was a big bright spot when he came to power in 2014.

Renzi was only 39 years old when he sat in the prime minister’s chair – the youngest in Italian history. And he set himself lofty goals: to implement comprehensive political and economic reforms in Italy. He succeeded in something, such as changing the labor market laws. This has given companies greater freedom to adapt the number of employees to the financial situation. But in an attempt to get through the major political reform in December 2016, he thus met the wall and resigned from the position.

9: The good life in a mismanaged country

The Italians’ no to the major reform did not create a serious EU crisis, as some feared. But it was a new confirmation that the situation in the Eurogroup’s third largest country is a threat to all European cooperation . At the same time, Italy is a significant industrial nation , with the economic muscle to withstand much adversity.

Another paradox in Italian society is the high quality of life for a very large part of the population. Despite corrupt politicians, mafia and bureaucracy, most Italians live a good life, and many small communities around the country must be described as pure idyll. An Italian commentator puts it this way: “There are small places that are so nice that you risk falling asleep when you are 20 and waking up when you are 50.”

On the other hand, millions of Italians are fighting a daily battle against a system that steals their time and is perceived as meaningless and unfair. The problem is that this system offers great benefits to very many. The referendum in December 2016 reaffirmed an old wisdom: It is not easy to change Italy.

Italy - the Art of Twisting 3