Italy’s Draghi will meet trade unions after talks with parties – source

Former European Central Bank President Mario Draghi leaves Monte Citorio, in Rome

Fri, 5 February 2021, 9:49 am

ROME (Reuters) – Italy’s Prime Minister Designate Mario Draghi will hold talks with trade unions before wrapping up his consultations and deciding whether he has enough backing to form a new government, a source close to the matter said on Friday.

Draghi, a former European Central Bank chief, will end his round of consultations with political parties on Saturday.

It is still unclear when he will meet with the trade unions.

President Sergio Mattarella anointed Draghi on Wednesday after the implosion of Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte’s coalition, asking him to form a new government .

After his appointment, Draghi said Italy must seize the moment.

“We have the opportunity to do a lot for our country, with a careful look at the future of the younger generations and to strengthen social cohesion,” he said.

So far the centre-left Democratic Party (PD) and the small centrist Italia Viva party, led by former premier Matteo Renzi, have pledged their support to a government headed by Draghi.

The conservative party of four-time prime minister Silvio Berlusconi has made clear it would like to back Draghi, but in doing so it would strain its alliance with its rightist partners, the League and Brothers of Italy.

It is still unclear whether Draghi could win the support of the anti-establishment 5-Star Movement, the largest party in parliament, whose members have trouble with the idea of backing a government led by a former ECB president.

5-Star are scheduled to meet Draghi on Saturday at the end of a first round of consultations with the political parties.

Before reverting to the head of state, however, Draghi wants to meet trade unions and the industrialist association Confindustria, a source close to the matter said, adding that the timetable still had to be defined.

Mattarella said a new government must take office immediately to avoid Italy missing out on more than 200 billion euros ($243 billion) from a European Union fund designed to help overcome the economic slump.

Asked whether Draghi was the best option to lead Italy out of its political crisis, European Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen said the Commission never commented on internal politics.

But she said Draghi had “played an extraordinary role at the ECB and everyone is aware of this”, according to an interview with daily La Stampa.

(Reporting by Giselda Vagnoni; Editing by Angus MacSwan)