President Mattarella rejected the coalition agreement between MS5 and Lega Nord, by which he put Italy in a political crisis. The same parties reached a new agreement but retired horticultural publisher Arturo Croci is convinced very soon the Italians will be called to vote again. Croci doesn’t expect the Italians to leave the euro. “The Italians and the political majority don’t want to leave the euro. Mr. Salvini, leader of Lega Nord, has made clear that his party doesn’t want to get rid of the euro, but instead, wants to reform European laws to improve the lives of Europeans and Italians.”
What’s the atmosphere in Italy like at the moment?
„There’s a lot of confusion and uncertainty. The Italians don’t trust the old political guard, as they’ve done very little to solve any of the problems connected to the economic crisis, immigration, public debt and the inefficiency of the many bureaucratic systems.”
President Mattarella rejected the nomination of Mr. Savona. What do the Italians think of that?
„Most Italians don’t agree with President Mattarella’s decision. But the reason he rejected the agreement isn’t just the nomination of economist Savona. Lega Nord’s Mr. Salvini didn’t give Mattarella an alternative. They said: “Savona or nothing”, they simply imposed it on him. The coalition agreement between Lega Nord and M5S was also too expensive. Dictating the nomination like that, gave Salvini an easy way out.”
Do Italians see this as Northern European interference in Italian politics?
„Populist parties and the media have managed to create a very negative feeling towards any interference from France and Germany. The Italians aren’t so keen on this. At the same time, they’re very aware of the fact that Italy has some major problems, like the 2,400-billion-euro public deficit. Other problems, in addition to this debt, are related to for example immigration, bureaucracy (in Europe and in Italy) and public safety.
Lega and M5S reached a new agreement. How likely is it that new elections will be called in Italy?
„At the end Lega and M5S formed a government. Italians however hope for a change but very soon we will be called to vote again. That’s because the Democratic Party (left wing), which has been in the government the last couple of years, left us with an electoral law that basically translates into ungovernability.”
Who will benefit from this situation?
„The Italians are fed up with all the inefficient bureaucracy of the old political guard, who have done nothing to solve people’s problems. That’s why they’re voting for these protest parties. Who will benefit the most are parties like the League and M5S (5 Star Movement). ”
How likely is it that new elections will focus mainly on the abolition of the euro?
„The Italians and the political majority don’t really want to leave the euro. Mr. Salvini, leader of the Lega Nord, has made clear that his party doesn’t want to get rid of the euro, but instead, wants to reform European laws to improve the lives of Europeans and Italians.”
What’s the effect of the political unrest on the Italian economy?
„The uncertainty and chaos regarding the political situation has created a climate of mistrust. In the financial market, it leads to higher costs and it generally just leaves people feeling uncertain and dissatisfied.”
What does it mean for the floricultural industry?
„Even if it’s only small, the floricultural industry is an important part of Italy’s economically productive agricultural sector. The Italians really value it, even compared to other agricultural sectors like breeding, olive growing or the wine industry. The current political and economic situation doesn’t provide a favourable climate for investments. Everything will become more expensive. The ornamental flower industry employs about 100,000 people and consists of about 27,500 companies, most of which are family-run businesses. The total production value was 2,400 million euro in 2016. Imports amounted to 456 million and exports to 632 million. The Italian per-capita consumption was at around 42 euros after the levelling of the last ten years. This number is heavily influenced by seasonal trends. This year’s edition of Euroflora in Genova Nervi greatly contributed to the flower consumption. The event was widely reported in the newspapers and on TV. But overall, we don’t really foresee any major changes in production, imports and exports in the short term. Plant and flower imports from the Netherlands will probably continue as normal. Containers with flowers from South America will also continue to come to Italy via Rotterdam. And some Italian export products, specialities like kentia and palms have already been sold out for a few years ahead.”
Is the situation worse than before? Italy seems to be used to quite some political upheaval with 65 governments in seventy years?
„Politics and Italians don’t go well together. Italy is a country that’s difficult to understand for foreigners. It doesn’t have a homogenous population, we’re a big mix of races and cultures. Governing 62 million individual Italians isn’t an easy task. What I’d like to ask you and all my Dutch friends: “Why do so many people all over the world love Italy so much?”