Mario Draghi is certainly not new to public speeches, but this time he admitted to feeling moved: “I would like to tell you that in my long professional life there has never been a period of such emotion. intense and of such ample responsibility ”. he said yesterday in the Senate house, on the occasion of his introductory speech as the new Italian Prime Minister.
Draghi, former head of the ECB and president of the Bank of Italy, has been called on by Italian President Sergio Mattarella to take the lead after a political crisis caused Giuseppe Conte to step down as prime minister last month . After several rounds of consultation, Draghi was able to form a government of “national unity” which brings together the majority of the country’s political forces, from the Democratic Party to Forza Italia by Silvio Berlusconi, including the far-right League and the Movement. five stars. . A mix of political and technical ministries is supposed to shape the investment strategy of the ‘Next generation EU’ funds, a 750 billion euro plan the EU has dedicated to revive the Union outside the pandemic, including 209 billion euros. billion euros ($ 260 billion) go to Italy alone.
“Unity today is not an option but a duty,” Draghi said at the end of his speech, mentioning “love for Italy” as the most unifying principle on which to join forces. Draghi, who is supported by 61% of Italians, received 21 rounds of applause during his 55-minute speech, where he illustrated his priorities to get Italy out of its crisis.
“The main duty to which we are all called, myself first and foremost as Prime Minister, is to fight the pandemic by all means and to save the lives of our fellow citizens,” Draghi said at the start of his speech. . Currently, Italy has around 12,000 new cases per day and 369 deaths; the contagion trend is on the rise and one of the first decisions the new government will have to face is whether to opt for further lockdowns in the weeks to come.
Draghi is aware of the special conditions under which the new government was formed: “It has been said and written that this government was made necessary by the failure of politics. Let me disagree with this. No one backs away from their identity; if anything, they are pushing it forward, in an unprecedented scope of collaboration, to meet the needs of the country, to get closer to the daily problems of families and businesses who know well when it is time to work together, without prejudices or rivalry ”.
Specifically, Draghi referred to the present time as an opportunity to rebuild from the foundations, in the same way as it happened after WWII: “As it happened in the period of post-war, we have today a possibility, even a responsibility, to give way to a new reconstruction. With pride and determination, Italy recovered from the disaster of World War II and, through investment and hard work, paved the way for economic growth. But above all, he did it thanks to the conviction that the future of the following generations would be better for all ”.
Under these auspices, the program that the Italian Prime Minister is planning for the country aims above all to pave the way for future generations. “This is our mission as Italians: to give a better and fairer country to our children and grandchildren. I have often wondered if we, and I speak above all of my generation, have done and are doing for them all that our grandparents and parents did for us, completely sacrificing ourselves. This is a question we must ask ourselves when we are not doing all that is necessary to best promote our human capital, our education, our school, our university and our culture ”.
Young people seem to be a clear priority in the Prime Minister’s mind. Support for the European Union is another basic principle of government action: “Supporting this government means sharing the irreversibility of the choice of the euro, sharing the perspective of a European Union. increasingly integrated, which will result in a common public budget capable of supporting countries during periods of recession ”.
For Italy, the first and most urgent question is to develop and implement a rapid and effective vaccination plan: “We must mobilize all the resources on which we can count, using the services of civil protection, to the armed forces and to many volunteers ”. said the minister.
It also involves reform of the health system – “The central issue is to strengthen and reshape the local health system, building a strong network of basic services. […] and rely on hospitals for health emergencies and rehabilitation services, ”he said.
School was mentioned among the first areas to focus on, a sign of the importance of the subject for Draghi: “Not only do we have to get back to normal school time quickly, but we have to do everything possible to make up for lost time. . the past year, ”he said. Academic research covers an equally important role – “it requires adequate investment”, stressed Draghi – as well as the environment, to which the Prime Minister devoted a deep reflection, referring to the words of Pope Francis: “Natural tragedies are Earth’s response to our abuse. And I think if I asked God what he thinks about it, I don’t think he would tell me that it is a good thing: it is we who have ruined the work of God ”.
The environmental transition is one of the key axes of the European investment strategy, a theme of which Draghi is well aware. “In our country too, certain growth models will have to change”, he declared, this also applies to specific sectors leaving the market: “The choice between the activities to be safeguarded and those to be supported towards change. is the difficult task which economic decision-makers are going to have to face in the coming months ”, declared the Prime Minister.
In order, the other interventions on which Draghi as Prime Minister intends to focus are: gender parity (“the deployment of all the energies of the country in its restart cannot happen without the involvement of women” , he said), public investment (especially in southern Italy), and a number of reforms, starting with a tax reform based on the Danish model (i.e. by the involvement of a commission of experts to work on a global plan), public administration reform and judicial reform.
In the field of external relations, Italy will be “resolutely turned towards the EU and the United States”, declared Draghi. “The advent of the new American administration foresees a change of method towards more cooperation with Europe and the traditional allies,” he added. The Italian presidency of the G20 will this year be an opportunity to “build back better”, which seems to be a reference to Joe Biden’s program.
Finally, Draghi sent a clear message to the political forces on the need to work together: “This is the third government in a single term. There is nothing to suggest that it can work well without the unwavering support of this Parliament. This support is not based on political alchemy but on the will to make the sacrifices that women and men have undergone during the past year, on their quivering desire to be reborn, to come back stronger and on enthusiasm. of those young people who want a country that is able to make its dreams come true. Today, unity is not an option, it is a duty. But it is a duty guided by what, I am sure, unites us all: the love of Italy ”.