Tag Archives: Giuseppe Conte

Italian Government Prays About How to Revive the Post-Covid-19 Economy | Instant News

ROME – Amid the pandemic, one sign of normality is returning to Italy: political instability.

Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte’s government is struggling to avoid collapse after members of a small coalition threatened to withdraw vital support from parliament. The Viva Italia party, led by former Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi, has long been skeptical of Conte’s leadership and is increasing pressure on a range of issues, including how to reconstruct Italy’s economy hit after the pandemic.

If Renzi pulls out of the coalition, forcing Conte to step down, possible outcomes range from a new government with the same center-left leader to elections likely to be won by a rival center-right alliance.

Many observers expect Mr Conte to continue, albeit with a small party Mr Renzi has had more leverage. Whatever the outcome, the tussle suggests that Italy’s shocking political stability during the pandemic is coming to an end.

Mr. Conte, a little-known law professor who was elected to lead two rickety coalition governments in 2018 and 2019, has been an unexpectedly powerful prime minister since last year, when Italy became the first Western country hardest hit by Covid-19. His approval ratings rose as he worked with allies and opposition parties to arrange for the first nationwide lockdown, using stringent measures that were soon adopted around the world.


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Italy reacts to violence in Washington | Instant News

Politicians across the Italian political spectrum have condemned Washington’s violence by rioters supporting Trump.

Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte condemned scenes of violence in Washington, in which rioters supporting US president Donald Trump storm the Capitol building.

The move forced the suspension of the joint session of Congress to certify the election victory for president-elect Joe Biden, and has resulted in the deaths of four people.

Conte said he was watching events unfold in Washington with “great care”.

“Violence is incompatible with the exercise of democratic rights and freedoms,” he wrote on Twitter: “I believe in the strength and robustness of the institutions in the United States.”

Italian Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio described the events in Washington as “very serious,” calling them “a real disgrace to democracy, an attack on the freedoms of the American people.”

Di Maio said: “We strongly condemn all forms of violence, with the hope that there will be an orderly and peaceful transfer of power as quickly as possible.”

Lega leader Matteo Salvini – considered the Italian leader closest to Trump – distanced himself via Twitter: “Violence is never a solution, never. Live Freedom and Democracy, always and everywhere”.

Nicola Zingaretti, leader of the center-left Partito Democratico (PD) described the chaotic scenes as “dramatic, which we thought we would never see,” adding: “this is where political extremism takes us.”

Former Italian Prime Minister Enrico Letta attacked Trump directly: “What happened in the Capitol Building in Washington is proof that Trump is a coup leader. He must be treated like that. “


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The Italian coalition is fighting for control of the EU’s recovery money – POLITICO | Instant News

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ROME – Italy’s large part of the EU’s economic recovery package is a boon to Giuseppe Conte’s government, but in the short term it has sparked tensions and jealousies within the governing coalition.

Relations within the governing alliance have grown increasingly tense, and conflict is likely to peak this week after former Prime Minister Matteo Renzi, Italy’s leader Viva, threatened to revoke the 16-month-old government.

Renzi, a junior partner in the left-leaning government with the 5-Star Movement and the Democratic Party, accused Conte of surpassing his power with a plan that would centralize control of a € 209 billion grant and low-interest loans that Italy would get. of the Recovery Fund. Conte scored goals as he secured it 28 percent of the EU’s € 750 billion stimulus package for Italy in July.

Renzi has threatened to withdraw his ministers – for agriculture and families – from the government unless there is a radical change to Conte’s economic recovery plans, which Renzi describes as “without ambition and soul. “

Italia Viva has only 48 seats in the upper and lower houses of parliament but they are decisive in ensuring a majority of the government. Renzi said Corriere della Sera newspapers on Monday that he would not step down, and rejected suggestions that Conte could persuade opposition and independent politicians to shore up the government.

“My ministers are serious people, in government because they have ideas, not because of arrogance or arrogance. If these ideas don’t appeal, then we, like the others, will give up [ministerial positions], “Said Renzi.

Crisis can be triggered when cabinet ministers meet on Wednesday or Thursday to sign a recovery plan. If minister Renzi resigns, Conte, a ruling independent with 5Stars support, could try an overhaul, after making some concessions, before testing his support through a vote of confidence in parliament.

In addition to greater input into economic recovery plans, Renzi demanded that Italy take advantage of loans available from the European Stability Mechanism to invest in healthcare. He also demanded that Conte give up control of security services.

The ‘incomprehensible’ time

Political infighting amid the ongoing pandemic is likely to anger ordinary Italians as they grapple with a second wave that has seen their country regain the title of Europe’s worst death victim, with 75,000 deaths.

“Shaking the current government is incomprehensible,” Nicola Zingaretti warned, leader of the Democratic Party, in a statement.

Political analyst Wolfango Piccoli of Teneo said that with Viva’s Italian polling at less than 3 percent, and his personal approval ratings gloomy, Renzi’s likely motivation is to “raise his profile. He needs to shake things up and the restoration fund provides justification. ”

Renzi is not Conte’s only critic, although he is the most outspoken among the rising tide in a government alliance that resents the prime minister’s popularity. Support for Conte rose as high as 70 percent in March and April and has remained around 60 percent for most of the year. Realizing that the donations made possible by the recovery fund could bring more benefits, Conte’s rivals are “very worried” by Conte’s tight control over the recovery package, Piccoli said.

Senator Andrea Marcucci, part of the rebel group in the Democratic Party that is demanding a vote of confidence, said the confrontation “is not a Renzi maneuver. We have made very similar proposals. The prime minister is evaluating them and if his proposals make sense, a changed government led by Conte. should not be excluded. ”

The initial vote?

Renzi’s long-term goal is to occupy a central position, maintaining a balance of power in any government, which means that ideally he will eliminate Conte, a potential rival. But even if he cannot take control of Conte, Renzi wants to show that no majority government is possible without him. He is likely to emerge more fully and be able to gain control of a ministry or two with other positions redistributed to Democrats.

Two Viva Italia insiders, speaking on condition of anonymity, indicated that a limited reshuffle was the most likely outcome, and that another Conte government would be accepted by Renzi if his demands were met.

“The aim is not to get rid of Conte but a government agreement,” said one of them. Others said negotiations were ongoing after Conte “changed his stance,” paving the way to a “diplomatic” solution.

If no majority can be found for Conte’s revised government, President Sergio Mattarella could try to assemble a government with a new leader backed by the same political forces – such as Culture Minister Dario Franceschini of the Democratic Party.

Alternatively, he could appoint a national unity leader to guide the country through the health and economic crisis, until elections can be held. The names most frequently mentioned include Mario Draghi, the revered former president of the European Central Bank, and senior judge Marta Cartabia, who are unlikely.

As a last resort, the president could hold early elections, but still unlikely given the ongoing pandemic. Recent parliamentary reform, which means a a third of the MPs will be cut after the next election, it further undermined the desire to vote early.

Mattarella’s term as president ends in February 2022 and he was unable to dissolve parliament in the last six months of his mandate, so early elections need to be held before August. If Conte remains in power he will be weakened and more vulnerable to further attacks ahead of that time.


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Italy postponed reopening of secondary schools until January 11 | Instant News

Italy’s decision to postpone reopening of secondary schools until January 11 follows heated debate in government. Kindergartens, elementary and high schools will reopen as planned on January 7. The new anti-COVID-19 measures will go into effect from January 7 to 15, with Italy becoming the ‘orange zone’ on the weekend of January 9-10.

The Italian government has decided to reopen Italian high schools on Monday 11 January, not Thursday 7 January, amid an extension of anti-COVID-19 measures that were put in place during the Christmas period, the ANSA news agency reported.

The decision to postpone reopening of secondary schools came in the early hours of late night talks in which the governing coalition parties clashed over reopening dates, following days of uncertainty for parents, teachers and students.

Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte and his education minister Lucia Azzolina of the populist Movimento 5 Stelle (M5S) have sought to reopen High school on January 7, as planned, along with Kindergarten, Middle School and Elementary School.

The center-left Partito Democratico (PD) delegation, led by Culture Minister Dario Franceschini, is pushing for secondary schools not to reopen sooner than January 15, while Italy’s liberal Viva party, represented by agriculture minister Teresa Bellanova, is demanding that secondary schools reopen on January 7.

In the end, a compromise date was reached and January 11 was selected. The reopening of secondary schools will mean that only 50 percent of lessons are conducted in person, in class, and the remainder through distance learning.

However local leaders may decide to postpone the reopening date of secondary schools further, as has happened in some areas where local governments have chosen to wait and see what impact the Christmas holidays will have on novelties. covid-19 infection.

Veneto and Friuli Venezia Giulia in the north will close their secondary schools until January 31, with secondary schools set to reopen on January 25 in the surrounding southern Campania region. Napoli.

New anti-COVID-19 measures January 7-15, 2021

The government has decided to extend the above anti-COVID-19 measures Christmas period, from January 7-15.

That national action, which takes effect the day after tomorrow Witch, will see Italy become the ‘orange zone’ on the weekend of January 9-10 and the yellow zone “strengthened” on other days, reports ANSA.

This includes a ban on travel between regions – except for urgent or proven necessary reasons including work – and a continuation of rules that allow a maximum of two people who do not live together to visit private homes in their territory.

On ‘yellow days’ restaurants and bars can stay open until 18.00, after which they can provide take-out and home delivery services.

On orange day (January 9-10), bars and restaurants will be closed, but shops, hairdressers and beauty centers will be allowed to open.

Italy is currently in the ‘red zone’ at its highest level until January 6, a national holiday for the Epiphany feast.

Cover image: Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte. Photo credit: vasilis asvestas / Shutterstock.com.


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Italian fisherman talks about torture after detention in Libya | Europe | Latest news and events from all continents | DW | Instant News

In the eastern part of Mazara del Vallo, Italy’s largest fishing port, stands a not-so-famous memorial that reads “To Omar al-Mukhtar, hero of independence. In the name of friendship with the Libyan people.”

Located at a roundabout leading to Africa Avenue and overlooking the sea, this simple and inconspicuous stone monument has recently been the cause of a number of sarcastic comments by some locals. “I told the mayor to get rid of this stone,” said Ignazio Bonomo, whose father, Giovanni, returned home five days before Christmas after 108 days of detention in the coastal city of Benghazi in Libya.

A memorial to Libyan resistance hero Omar al-Mukhtar in Mazara del Vallo, now watched with suspicion by some locals

Giovanni Bonomo is one of them 18 fishermen were arrested by the Libyan coast guard on September 1 while sailing in international waters, over which Libya has illegally expanded its jurisdiction to allow it to control areas rich in the prized red shrimp.

Italian fishing boats have been involved in incidents of this kind in the past, but this time the fishermen are being held as political prisoners.

Tears of happiness and relief

Bonomo and his fellow fishermen sailed back to Mazara del Vallo in their boats, Medinea and Antarctide, which had been seized and pillaged by Libya more than three months earlier. A large crowd gathered to welcome them home. “When we got to the dock and I saw everyone waiting for us, I cried all day long,” he said.

Giovanni Bonomo from Antarctica

Giovanni Bonomo is one of the fishermen detained by Libyan forces

After that, the fishermen were released on 17 December Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte and Minister of Foreign Affairs Luigi Di Maio fly to Benghazi to meet Khalifa Haftar, the warlord who controlled eastern Libya. Haftar is seeking international recognition and wants to be included in Italy’s foreign policy regarding the North African country. But Rome, like other European countries, officially deals only with the rival UN-backed government in Tripoli.

Questions about release requirements

Di Maio said the fishermen’s release was guaranteed without giving anything in return and had rejected questions about the terms of release, stressing: “This is the result of our external intelligence and diplomacy work.”

Graph showing the front lines in the Libyan war

According to a pan-Arab journal Asharq Al-Awsat“Knowledgeable Libyan sources state that it has been agreed to extradite four Libyans convicted of trafficking in Italy in exchange for fishermen.” However, both the fishermen’s lawyers and the Italian prosecutors handling their cases deny this.

During the recorded phone call, former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi told Marco Marrone, owner of Medinea, that Russian President Vladimir Putin had facilitated the release by exerting influence on Haftar.

To clarify the situation, the Italian parliamentary committee for Republican security (Copasir), which is in charge of overseeing the state secret service, has said it will audit Conte, Di Maio and the head of external intelligence by January 2021.

Side effects of traumatic experiences

“Whatever happens, I am waiting for their release before decorating the Christmas tree. I am happy, but the struggle is not over,” said Rosaria Asaro, who said her husband, Giovanni, spoke in his sleep about the Libyan guard psychologically abusing him: “‘They came. , ‘he said. “

Relatives of detained fishermen and Medinea owner Marco Marrone protest before parliament in Rome, October 14, 2020

Medinea owner Marco Marrone is seen at a protest against fishermen detained in Rome, October 14, 2020

During detention, the fishermen were detained in four different prisons. Bonomo recalled the night before one transfer: “In the middle of the night, they let us out of the cell and put us next to each other, facing the wall. They had their guns pointed at us, and I thought they were going to kill us. Then they soaked us with hoses, to bathe us. us. “

Even so, he knew that he had an advantage compared to other inmates. “They once beat a Libyan with sticks and stones and made him lick food off the floor,” he said. Bonomo thought that he and his fellow fishermen would one day be given the same treatment.

He said some of them were close to being damaged, adding that one of the group “was nervously walking back and forth in the cell. He threatened suicide by drinking the bleach that was given to us to wash the holes in the floor. We used it as a toilet”.

Terrible conditions

As if these appalling sanitary conditions were not bad enough, the fishermen did not have proper beds until several days before their release. “We have some blankets that are so dirty you have to stay away from them. I got a painkiller injection for my leg after sleeping on the floor for months.”

The guarantees provided by the Italian government regarding the conditions of detention of the fishermen turned out to be inconsistent with reality, but it is not clear what the government actually knows about them.

Ibrahima Sarr, 22, the youngest of the Antarctic crew involved

At 22, Ibrahima Sarr is the youngest of the Antarctic crew members

Although their case made headlines around the world, Ibrahima Sarr only told his father in Senegal a few days ago that he had been imprisoned in Libya for more than three months. “I told him it was over, but I haven’t given details about what happened. He is old and I don’t want to worry him,” he said. Instead, he had spoken at length to his sister, to whom he had sent a video from the press reporting on the case.

At 22 years old, Sarr was the youngest member of the crew involved. He’s lived in Italy since 2015, when he made a secret boat crossing from Libya. “In the past, there, nothing happened to me. I didn’t know at the time what was happening in this country. In Senegal, I never saw militias or someone bleeding as a result of torture. But now, in El Kuefia prison. [near Benghazi], I’ve.”

There is no pause

For him, there is no lull for 108 days in detention. “It’s always been terrible. Every day, I think I’m going to die.” Hoping to have something to look forward to, he repeatedly asked the guards when he would be released, but received no reply. This meant that even if he tried, it was never easy to take his mind off things.

“From the Libyan prisoners we got T-shirts with chess boards drawn, to play chess using plastic caps as pawns. But when the guards came, we kept them or pretended to sleep, because we were afraid they would be angry”.

Khalifa Haftar, the warlord who ruled eastern Libya, in a video released on April 27, 2020

Khalifa Haftar, the warlord who controls eastern Libya, is seeking international recognition

Sarr now understands that his 2015 trip through Libya could have been much worse, but he is not yet fully aware of the geopolitical situation he avoided last week.

In 2017, Italy signed an agreement with Libya to stop illegal immigration and has since spent more than € 22 million ($ 27 million) on the Libyan coast guard, providing training for staff and buying a dozen patrol boats. But Libyan authorities continue to violate the human rights of migrants, and the same patrol boats are used to catch Italian fishermen.

Confined in the dark

Habib Mathlouthi argues that the last prison where he is being held is a military base called Tariq ibn Ziyad, somewhere outside Benghazi. He couldn’t see the road when it was being moved. His cell was number 40, and like the others, it was specially designed to psychologically abuse prisoners. “Everything is painted black, no windows, only the air vents in the roof. It’s really dark”.

Habib Mathlouthi, cook on the Medinea, with his family

Habib Mathlouthi, the cook on the Medinea ship, was subjected to what he called ‘psychological torture’

The door opened for the first time in 25 days. During this period, he only bathed three times. He felt that prior to arriving at the prison he might have been held in slightly better conditions than the others because as a cook in Medinea, he had been sometimes sent to help out in the prison kitchen before.

In an attempt to trap the fishermen, Haftar’s men initially pretend to find packages of illegal drugs on the seized boat and try to get the fishermen to sign false confessions. “I was obliged to sign some papers, but I couldn’t read what they said,” Mathlouthi explained. In a similar situation, other fishermen were tricked into touching a package of fake medicine so that they left their fingerprints alone.

But worse is coming: “One time, they isolated me for hours and I don’t know why. The guards were sedated”.

Now, however, Mathlouthi is fairly calm, even though her thoughts go back to the period of detention when she was alone. After resting, he wanted to return to the sea, although never to the troubled waters off the Libyan coast: “I will never return there. Even for thousands of euros. Instead, I will work closer to Malta or Tunisia.”


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