New information has appeared over the past few weeks involving Italy and their now former prime minister, Matteo Renzi. This event has led to questions involving Italy’s government and also has caused many Europeans to wonder whether Italy will remain in the European Union or exit like Britain voted to do this past June.
Matteo Renzi resigned at the beginning of December when he lost the vote for a referendum to make constitutional changes. The goal of the changes was to reduce the power of the upper house parliament and strengthen Italy’s government, giving more power to the Chamber of Deputies. He had said beforehand that if he lost the vote, he would resign, which leads some to believe that people could have been voting on if they wanted him to stay rather than their opinions on the topic at hand. After Mr. Renzi’s resignation, the current president of Italy, Sergio Mattarella, asked him to remain caretaker of Italy as he worked to fill Mr. Renzi’s position. As announcements of a replacement prime minister surfaced, Italian politicians began saying that they want Italy’s next election, scheduled for 2018, to be moved up.
The new Italian Prime Minister, Paolo Gentiloni, was soon chosen to succeed Mr. Renzi. Paolo Gentiloni gave his inaugural speech on December 13, 2016. He stated that some of his main concerns were dealing with damages caused by earthquakes in Italy and creating new jobs. The only changes Mr. Gentiloni made to Mr. Renzi’s cabinet was dropping one minister.
After Mr. Gentiloni was chosen, however, people speculated that he was only chosen as a temporary placeholder for Mr. Renzi, who could potentially return, though no government official has confirmed it yet.
As for whether or not Italy will leave the European Union, there is no distinct answer. Charles Bickerton, a lecturer at Cambridge University, told CNN regarding this issue, “Going from there to actually working out the mechanics of getting a referendum to leave the euro is something else. There is a climate in Italy of growing euroskepticism and certainly anti-establishment feeling — that’s very clear. The implications for the EU specifically, I think, are probably less clear.” A study at the Pew Research Centre said that they don’t believe Italians would opt to leave the European Union, stating that 58% of Italians in June found the European Union favorable.
In recent years, Italy has experienced many changes, so it’s hard to predict what their next move will be involving when their elections will be held or whether or not they choose to leave the European Union for good. All recent events, however, will strongly impact Italy’s future.