“As an Italian, Mario Draghi saved the euro. As a European, he will save Italy. “ The prognosis was formulated in these terms by Matteo Renzi, in the interview he gave to Le Monde on February 4, but the former president of the council (2014-2016) is far from having been the only one, in Italy , to formulate this idea after the appointment of the former President of the European Central Bank (ECB) as head of government. All of Mario Draghi’s zealots, whether long-time or recently converted, have at one point drawn this optimistic parallel between the rescue of the euro, from 2012, and that of the Italy, particularly affected by the Covid-19 pandemic. Basically, the only cleavage between them would be on the question of which of these two titanic companies is the more difficult.

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The expectations surrounding the upcoming action of the new Chairman of the Board are immense. Yet time is running out: the current legislature will come to its natural end in early 2023, and few observers see the Draghi government lasting more than a year – if only because, if successful, the former central banker would become a ready-made candidate for the post of President of the Republic, to be filled in early 2022. In other words, it is a matter of doing as quickly as possible to put the reforms on track at best. Hoping that his successors will deepen them.

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Before the Senate on February 17, for his first speech as Chairman of the Board, Mario Draghi pledged to fundamentally restructure the Italian economy. For this, he has in his hands an asset that none of his predecessors had: the 209 billion euros of the European recovery plan, which will have to be invested with as much discernment as possible, after a quarter of century of budgetary choices dictated by the weight of Italian indebtedness, the demands of Brussels and the mistrust of the markets.

A program running until 2026

Its priorities are close to those outlined by its predecessor, Giuseppe Conte – digital, ecological transition, training, gender equality. But he intends to match them with a more solid strategy and governance, because the capacity to spend such sums, a weak point in the country, will be closely scrutinized by Brussels. Rome only managed to use 43% of the European structural funds of the 2014-2020 budget, compared to 60% in France and Germany, and more than 80% in Finland.

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