INTERVIEW with Antonio Tajani: Italy’s reset under the new Draghi government

Of course, we are open to dialogue with the other partners like Russia, but with China, we noticed that they tried to occupy far too much space in our country. Yesterday, Berlusconi mentioned in an interview a ‘United States of Europe’ – this is the same direction that we are following. The previous Conte government was too oriented towards China and far-less focused on our relations with the US. Tajanai spoke broadly about the pandemic, the recovery plan, the new attitude that Lega has adopted towards the EU, and what the foreign policy stance will be of Draghi government. EPA-EFE//GIUSEPPE LAMI

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On the same day as the confidence vote for Italy’s new Mario Draghi-led government, New Europe was in  Rome to speak with current MEP and former President of the European Parliament, Antonio Tajani, from Forza Italia about his party’s view of the new administration, which is the first in Italy’s history to be led by for former head of the European Central Bank. This is what we have to do now. We have our solutions. We risk a new unemployment wave with thousands of small and medium-sized businesses who are under threat of bankruptcy. This is already a net positive that Lega is part of the Draghi government. Remember, that we are the only party that presented a vaccination plan and a plan to access the recovery fund. NE: Do you think Lega could be part of the EPP in the future and are you trying to support this process? We share the view of this government that the two top foreign policy priorities are our relations with Europe and the US. This is a positive fact because till now, Lega didn’t ask to enter the EPP, as was reiterated by Matteo Salvini a few days ago. Last but not least, we should not be part of the current 5G rollout, because our data has to stay in safe hands. In this regard, we have to do some reforms, including a fiscal plan. The non-participation of the Brothers of Italy in the Draghi government is a choice that we respect. Silvio Berlusconi said, if needed, we are available to speak with and support a path towards the EPP for Lega. This is not a new political majority. Under this difficult scenario, we will have to sacrifice some parts of our program. We would be bad politicians, and bad Italians, if this wasn’t a priority for us. We will stay part of the center-right coalition as a liberal, Catholic, and reformist party that is also pro-EU and pro-EU-US relations in its foreign policy. We shouldn’t sell our ports (to the Chinese). All they did was decide to fight together against unemployment and rebuild the country. There were big concerns about the steel, ceramic and bicycle industries and unfair competition from Chinese companies. When the pandemic ends, everybody will be back to their previous political corners. It is only for Lega who has to decide on this path. We already have millions of Italians suffering because of the economic crisis. New Europe (NE):  What’s your feeling about a government with so different political forces? EPA-EFE/GIUSEPPE LAMI

Italian MEP Antonio Tajani attends a lecture at the Italian Banking Association headquarters in Rome. The priority now is to save lives because, every day, hundreds of Italians are dying from COVID. What’s your opinion? NE: Regarding the political program, from what we heard Draghi, it seems to be the type with a low profile in its approach to fiscal reform. We also asked about a carbon tax for goods imported into the EU. NE: On the foreign policy front, do you see any shift in Italy’s relations with third countries? According to media reports Tajani called to soften European Central Bank (ECB) requirements for european banks, announced on 04 October 2017, to set aside additional capital to cover billions of euros in bad loans. We must also cut Italy’s bureaucracy and finally implement efficient justice reform. This process will take time, but it is already important for us to stop the possibility of creating new taxes. AT: This government is changing Italy’s approach to foreign policy. Antonio Tajani (AT): This is a government of national unity,  build up to manage the pandemic. As for a pro-EU stance, this doesn’t that you bow your head to the Brussels bureaucracy. It is important to build up a project where Italy is one of the main players in Brussels. style=”font-size:40px; line-height: 1.3em; font-weight: 800; padding:7px;”>INTERVIEW with Antonio Tajani: Italy’s reset under the new Draghi government

By Federico Grandesso
Italian Editor, Journalist

epa06248104 President of the European Parliament Antonio Tajani attends the lectio magistralis (lecture) at the Italian Banking Association headquarters, in Rome, Italy, 06 October 2017. The United States must be our main partner. AT: This government was created with the priority to defeat the Coronavirus and to implement a recovery plan. If we form the next government, we will push to have a flat tax. we are in an emergency period, like after World War II, where the Christian Democrats and Communists didn’t create a political alliance. We are also not in favor of an unconditional partnership with China and its Belt and Road initiative. AT: There is a new path in the more pro-EU attitude, one that is in favor of the social economy.