Visions of Europe: Stefano Sacchi on the 2018 Italian elections
In cooperation with the ACCESS EUROPE
In this lecture Stefano Sacchi, associate professor of Political Science in LUISS University in Rome, will speak about the politics and political economy after the March 18 elections in Italy.
For the first time in its postwar history, Italy saw inconclusive elections in March 2018. The two anti-system parties, the Lega and Five Star Movement, just formed a populist, anti-establishment, somewhat xenophobic, anti-EMU government.
The parties that supported the pro-EU, centre-left reform governments of Monti, Letta, Renzi and Gentiloni since the sovereign debt crisis in 2012 have seen their electoral base smashed. Important structural reforms have been introduced, most notably in pension and labour market policy, but these have not alleviated Italy's post-EMU productivity disease, while mobilizing wide opposition among the citizenry. Reversal of such reforms, together with much harsher migration policy, were the selling points of the Lega and Five Star Movement in the electoral campaign.
The great recession left an increasedly polarized country, with some regions of the North amongst the most competitive in the world, and the South virtually desertified. Due to low growth, the public debt ratio is still high and Italy's fiscal position still vulnerable despite running large primary budget surpluses since the early 1990s.
So, whither Italy, between the rock of low productivity, high public debt and the risks of the tapering of quantitative easing and the hard place of a resentful and inflammable citizenry, worn out by a long economic crisis and calling for radical political and economic recipes?
About the speaker
Stefano Sacchi is Associate Professor of Political Science at LUISS University in Rome (on leave from the University of Milan), Non-Resident Fellow at the Collegio Carlo Alberto of Turin, and since 2016 the President of the Italian National Institute for Public Policy Analysis, INAPP, in Rome. In the Renzi government (2014-2016) he was a special adviser to the Italian Labor Minister and then to the Prime Minister’s office. In that capacity he designed and drafted several social policy reforms. He has authored or co-authored more than fifty academic publications in the field of comparative social and labor policy, and was visiting scholar or lectured in several universities worldwide, including Cornell, Princeton, Toronto, NYU, University of Washington, University of Southern Denmark, Tokyo University and Waseda. His most recent publications are Conditionality by other means. EU involvement in Italy's structural reforms in the sovereign debt crisis, in Comparative European Politics (2015), Conditionality, Austerity and Welfare: Financial crisis and its impact on welfare in Italy and Korea (with J. Roh), in Journal of European Social Policy (2016), and The Italian Welfare State in the Crisis: Learning to Adjust?, in South European Society and Politics (2018).
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