Tag Archives: Italian Politics

Italy fears that the masses have infiltrated the vaccination campaign – POLITICO | Instant News

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ROME – Italian mafias divert vaccines from those who need them most, lawmakers fear.

With Italy struggling to run a shaky vaccination campaign, parliamentary anti-mafia commissions are investigating whether crime syndicates divert vaccines to their friends at the expense of the elderly and vulnerable, especially in the south where they often exercise control over health authorities. .

Italy’s rise in COVID-19 deaths, due to the dramatically slowing death rate in neighboring countries, has led some people, including Prime Minister Mario Draghi, to blame younger people for jumping queues for vaccinations.

At press time conference on Thursday evening, Draghi said: “With what conscience does one jump through the queue, knowing that it makes other people vulnerable, who are over 65 years of age or vulnerable, and who is at real risk of death?”

Institute of International Political Studies (ISPI) think tank estimates that 8,000 lives in Italy could have been saved since January if vaccines were more focused on the elderly.

But there is a growing concern that the masses are using their powers to get people vaccinated beforehand. The number of health workers – part of the first batch of vaccines – has increased suspiciously, especially in areas such as Puglia. Administrators, communications consultants, and even builders working on health sites have been given the shot once it has been added to the priority list.

And a loose interpretation of the Ministry of Health’s guidelines allows Italy’s 20 regions, which are responsible for health care, to allocate injections to well-connected individuals and groups such as politicians, lawyers, judges and journalists. Three south area – Sicily, Calabria and Campania – have given this priority dose as much or more as that given to people over 80 years of age.

At least 1,000 queue jumper suspects are being investigated by various police forces and prosecutors in Italy, including 150 people Palermo alone. Mayor of Corleone in Sicily resign after he was accused of abusing his position to get vaccines for himself and his board members.

This prompted the anti-mafia parliamentary commission to demand the names of those vaccinated. Mario Giarrusso, a member of the commission and a longtime anti-mafia campaigner, told POLITICO that it had compiled a list of names from several southern regions with suspicious numbers.

He said: “The people being vaccinated fall outside the priority category defined by the government, especially in some areas where there is a high mafia density, and we suspect that the mafia regulates vaccinations.”

In areas like Calabria, authority is often under the control of the central government because of mafia infiltration, said Giarrusso.

But even in areas where the mafia’s influence has been far less, vaccine rollouts have failed to prioritize older citizens, experts say.

Military members and prisoners have been given priority status, as well as more than 1 million school and university workers, although most teaching has been transferred to the internet.

According to Matteo Villa, a researcher at the ISPI think tank, the reason for a broader failure in government strategy is a lack of clear guidelines.

Like other countries, Italy prioritizes those over 80 years of age, care homeworkers and health care workers. But under pressure to become a leader in the vaccination race, Italy is giving health workers injections at a much faster rate than those over their 80s. “All health workers are vaccinated at the end of January. But it is done at the expense of the elderly,” said Villa.

At the end of January, seven in 10 vaccines were given to children under 60 years of age. And as of March 31, Italy is way behind the EU’s goal of 80 per cent of people over 80 having received at least one dose.

Even now, more children under 60 have been vaccinated than those over 80, according to officials numbers.

Draghi on Thursday complained that the number of health workers was growing and ordered focus be given to the elderly.

“We need to vaccinate as a priority for everyone over the age of 70,” he said.

Draghi has appointed Francesco Figliuolo, a military general and logistics expert, to get the vaccine back on track. But with Italy recording 718 coronavirus deaths on Friday, the biggest daily increase since December, it continues to count the cost of life.

Giarrusso, the anti-mafia senator, vows to root out the mafia. “We need to verify who has passed the queue. These people take the vaccine from those whose lives are at risk. “

This article is a part of POLITICOPremium policy service: Health Care Pro. From drug pricing, EMA, vaccines, pharmaceuticals and more, our specialist journalists continue to provide you with topics that drive the health care policy agenda. Email [email protected] for a free trial.


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Former Italian leader Conte leads 5Stars – POLITICO | Instant News

ROME – Former Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte has a new job: Save the 5Star Movement.

Support for maverick political parties has collapsed since entering government in 2018, as the compromises required to run a country alienate many of its former voters.

As prime minister between 2018 and January this year, Conte oversaw two separate coalitions led by 5Star, but did so without joining any political parties.

Now that 5Stars is part of another coalition – this time under the new prime minister of former European Central Bank chief Mario Draghi – Conte has decided to join 5Stars and try to help the party rebuild.

In 34 minutes video released last week, Conte said he had accepted the challenge of “re-establishing” 5Stars, following a plea from its creator, comedian Beppe Grillo.

Outlining his vision, Conte said that renovation “cannot be just marketing”, but must “complete regeneration … without rejecting our past and the experiences gained.”

Times are tight for Conte with local elections in major cities scheduled for September or October this year and his new party struggling for momentum. Since taking 33 per cent of the vote in national elections in 2018, more than any other party, 5Stars has been gaining support gradually. deterioration less than half.

Conte’s plan appears to be to try and transform the party, which since its founding in 2009 into a loosely structured, often anti-establishment, entity into a more traditional political party.

In his video, Conte outlines a progressive agenda, with a focus on a green transition, fighting inequality and fighting corruption in politics, and he appears to be definitively ditching the anti-immigration, Eurosceptic view that is part of a more “all-things-for-all-people” the start of 5Stars.

Managing this transition without compromising the movement’s core identity in a way that increasingly alienates supporters will be a challenge, analysts say.

“They have quietly abandoned their flagship policies and the rest have now become mainstream, hampering their ability to present themselves as a say-something force,” said Wolfango Piccoli, a researcher at risk analysis firm Teneo. “Newness is hard to find again.”

Conte, although not yet officially declared leader, took over the government at a time of turmoil, which has been under temporary scrutiny since January 2020 when Luigi Di Maio, now foreign minister, resign amid widespread defections by party figures.

After Conte was removed from prime ministerial post in January, a number of 5Star MPs and senators left issued after they defied the leadership and refused to support a new government led by Draghi, which they attributed to austerity measures implemented in 2011.

“The 5 Stars movement is like the former Yugoslavia after Tito’s death, with different factions always attacking each other,” said Rome-based activist Massimo Lazzari.

The hope is now, Conte can become a unifying figure. During his time as prime minister, he proved adept as a mediator, first between 5Stars and his right-wing coalition allies and then with left-wing coalition partners.

With a background as a lawyer and academician before entering politics, it is hoped that Conte’s professional experience will be able to build a new party structure from scratch. He has said the party needs a new training center and offices to handle relations with foreign political parties.

Supporters also say Conte retains a popular touch that is useful.

“He’s from the south, he’s a good communicator, talks directly to people on social media, often cuts off more traditional media,” said 5Star’s former communications staff, who asked not to be named.

And while he was eventually dumped as prime minister after the governing coalition collapsed, Conte’s handling of the pandemic still earned him approval ratings as high as 60 percent for much of the last year.


For more poll data from around Europe visit POLITICO Polls Polls.

Polls now show Conte’s leadership can give 5Stars 6-7 percentage points lift in the polls if it can attract moderate and left-leaning Democrats.

However, some people doubt this.

“Conte has been missing for the last two months. Is he really an asset or something like that [the 5Stars] despair? “said Piccoli analysts.

Also problematic is the uncomfortable relationship between the party’s leadership and its membership base, which Conte doesn’t discuss much in his videos.

For example, he did not say what his new role would mean for the recent decision endorsed by party members – to replace a leader with a board of five.

Nor did he explain what would now happen to 5Stars’ participatory democracy platform, known as “Rousseau,” which members use to vote for policies and candidates.

Conte promised to hold further talks on the direction of the party after Easter, with his first big test being local elections in major cities, including Rome, Milan and Napoli, scheduled for the fall.

Earlier, observers said Conte may want to strike a more stable deal with Democrats, which some believe could be a smart move because of overlapping views on policy.

Democrats “were founded with government and public administration experience, while 5Star brings more vitality and authenticity,” said the communications staff.

But before he can form any coalition, Conte will have to unite his own divided party.

Roma-based activist Lazzari said being an outsider could benefit him.

He noted a medieval Italian custom that sees outsiders often being brought in as mayors in cities plagued by internal conflict in an effort to keep the peace.

As an outsider in a party built on a shattered traditional power structure, this is probably one tradition Conte looks forward to.


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The Italian judge, rejecting priority in the vaccine queue, threatened to slow down – POLITICO | Instant News

ROME – Italian judges and prosecutors have disappointed lawmakers from across the political spectrum by calling for a slowdown after they were asked to stand in line for the coronavirus vaccine.

Under guidelines drawn up in December, it is clear that some of the groups more exposed to the Italian labor market, including teachers and health workers, will be vaccinated first together with the oldest and most vulnerable members of society.

But the guidelines are unclear about whether lawyers and judges are essential workers who should have priority access to vaccines. The profession is now accused of pressuring regional authorities, which run Italy’s health care system, for permission to jump the queues – which is permitted in some cases.

Now the government has issued binding new rules that make it clear that lawyers and judges must wait in line for a vaccine criticize area to allow queues to jump.

In parliament last week, Prime Minister Mario Draghi said regions “neglect their parents in favor of groups that push priorities thanks to their bargaining power.”

The national body representing judges and prosecutors, the National Association of Magistrates, released a statement on Sunday invited court officials to slow court activity and suspend nonurgent hearings, in a move that threatens to rob Italy of much-needed momentum for Italy’s slow-moving justice system.

The decision was enforced by “the predictable and high number of infections and casualties among judicial operators, and an inexplicable lack of regulatory intervention in the period when infections developed,” the association said. The new guidelines “completely undermine the essential and urgent work of justice. Workers.”

Following this statement, the panel of judges came to accept criticism.

Matteo Salvini, league leader right wing, the word judges must “stand in line like everyone else. If there are judges who are older or with pre-existing conditions, they must have the same rights as other people, otherwise for me they are the same as shop assistants or other workers “

Enrico Rossi, leader of the Democratic Party in the Umbria region, criticized “selfishness … which goes against the constitutional principles of equality and solidarity … The only important scientific criterion is to vaccinate the elderly and vulnerable people first, so as to save lives. “

The chairman of the panel of judges, Giuseppe Santalucia, on Monday stated that what was being asked was not vaccinations, but “a risky task to see if a crowded congregation could be a problem. ”

Deputy Justice Minister Francesco Paolo Sisto said the concern was legitimate and reasonable “to call for in-depth risk analysis … for judges, lawyers, registration staff as well as citizens using justice services.”


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